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Stem cells

Pluripotency gene

The introduction of a single gene into cells of the human endothelium, the thin layer that lines the interior of blood vessels, activated at least six genes that are very important for the cell reprogramming process. Researchers from the Cell Therapy and Blood Center of the Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP) inserted the Nanog gene into the endothelial cells and observed that this alteration alone expressed the Sox2, FoxD3, Oct4, Klf4, c-myc e β-catenin genes, activated by this type of tissue (Celullar Reprogramming, June 2012). Nanog is a very active gene in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and is associated with these cells’ ability to renew themselves and generate various types of tissues. It is difficult to cultivate successive generations of endothelial cells in a laboratory. These cells do not use these six genes normally, or use them very little. Inserting the Nanog or other genes possibly mitigates or minimizes this limitation. “We are trying to understand the specific role of the Nanog and each of these genes linked to the pluripotency of the ESCs,” explains Virgina Picanço-Castro, one of the researchers who worked on this project. The next step is to introduce other genes into the endothelial cells and observe the results.