Elisabeth Manville
Mar 14, 2012

Researchers identify epigenetic signatures of induced stem cells

A research team at Tufts University has identified epigenetic signatures of reprogrammed cells. These signatures are markers on DNA that can can control changes in gene expression and can predict the expression of a wound-healing protein, PDGFRbeta, in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which take on embryonic stem cell properties. This discovery could help in the development of personalized tissue regeneration techniques that use a patient’s own stem cells rather than embryonic stem cells. Classifying specific epigenetic signatures allows researchers to figure out ways to produce cell types with ideal properties for tissue repair, while reducing unintended abnormalities. “We determined that successful tissue generation is associated with the expression of PDGFRbeta. Theoretically, by identifying the epigenetic signatures that indicate its expression, we can determine the reprogrammed cells’ potential for maintaining normal cellular characteristics throughout development,” Kyle Hewitt, first author of the study, said.