Scientists engineer stem cells to turn into red blood cells
August 26th, 2009 – 1:41 pm ICT by IANS Tell a Friend –
Sydney, Aug 26 (IANS) Stem cell scientists have modified a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) line to glow red when they become red blood cells.
The modified hESC line, ErythRED, opens the way to generating mature, fully functional red blood cells (RBCs) from human embryonic stem cells.
The research was led by Andrew Elefanty and Ed Stanley, both professors at the Monash University (M-U) Immunology and Stem Cell Labs.
Whilst hESCs have the potential to turn into any cell type in the body, it remains a scientific challenge to reliably turn these stem cells into specific types such as the RBCs.
The development of the ErythRED embryonic stem cell line, which fluoresces red when haemoglobin genes are switched on, is an important development that will help researchers to optimise the conditions that generate these cells, said a Monash release.
“Not only will the ErythRED cell line lead to more efficient creation of red blood cells from human embryonic stem cells, but these cells are a crucial tool for monitoring the behaviour of the cells when transplanted into animal models,” said Elefanty.
Brief Communication abstract
Published online: 23 August 2009 | doi:10.1038/nmeth.1364
ErythRED, a hESC line enabling identification of erythroid cells
- Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
- Cell and Gene Therapy Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
- These authors contributed equally to this work.