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Biased segregation of centrosomes in stem cells

By 30 de March de 2011November 18th, 2020No Comments
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Biased segregation of centrosomes in stem cells

New research by the team of Cayetano González, ICREA research professor at IRB Barcelona, has shown that centrosomes, cell components that play a critical role in cell division, are not randomly distributed between daughter cells when stem cells divide, but follow a specific pattern. Their work, published in Nature Communications, sheds new light on our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern stem cell division and on the understanding of some human diseases such as cancer.

Stem cells are non-differentiated cells that, through a process of asymmetric cell division, produce two completely different cells: a stem cell that is identical to the original one and a differentiated cell with a specific function in the organism. This particular division strategy allows stem cells to self-renew, and also permits the production of large amounts of tissue during development or the regeneration of tissue that has been damaged. When this tightly regulated cell division process gets thrown off balance, tumors can form. Studies like this one may therefore be key to helping researchers understand the molecular basis of some human diseases.

Before cells divide, the centrosomes – components that organise the cell skeleton – must, like DNA, duplicate so that each daughter cell may receive its own set. They replicate in such a way that they produce an older (“mother”) and a younger (“daughter”) set. “Other groups have shown that when centrosomes are removed from stem cells, these cells divide symmetrically and can produce tumours, and these results show that centrosomes play a crucial role in asymmetric division”, explains Januschke, a member of González team and first author of the study.