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What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - Cardio‐oncology, Naïve Pluripotency, hnRNP‐K in Embryonic Stem Cells, and Insulin’s Role in hESCs!

The Stem Cells Portal brings you a roundup of some of the new and exciting stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells, regenerative medicine, and beyond!

Precision Matchmaking for Cardio‐oncology

Chemotherapeutic agents can cause acute and chronic cardiovascular complications; therefore, the development of rigorous preclinical models is necessary to predict human cardiotoxicity and elucidate the underlying mechanisms of cardiotoxicity. A recent review from the lab of Ioannis Karakikes (Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA) now provides an overview of recent advances in preclinical cancer‐related cardiotoxicity testing, or cardio-oncology, focusing on new technologies, such as human induced pluripotent stem cell‐derived cardiomyocytes and tissue engineering. Furthermore, Nair et al. discuss some of the limitations of these technologies and present future directions in thisSTEM CELLS Translational Medicine article.

Activation‐induced Cytidine Deaminase Required for Naïve Pluripotency

Previous studies from the laboratories of Ritu Kumar and Todd Evans (Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, USA) demonstrated that activation‐induced cytidine deaminase (AICDA) facilitated the stabilization of pluripotency during reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Now, the team returns with a STEM CELLS study in which they report that Acida−/− iPSCs fail to reach the naïve pluripotent state and remain primed for differentiation due to a failure to suppress FGF/ERK signaling. However, the authors also demonstrate that while mutant cells display marked genomic hypermethylation, the suppression of FGF/ERK signaling by AICDA did not depend on deaminase activity.

A Role for the Poly(C) DNA/RNA‐binding protein hnRNP‐K in Embryonic Stem Cells

Researchers from the laboratory of Alexey N. Tomilin (Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia) recently set out to decipher the role of the ubiquitous and multifunctional poly(C) DNA/RNA‐binding protein hnRNP‐K in embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Employing ChIP‐seq analysis, Bakhmet et al. describe several thousand hnRNP‐K target sites frequently co‐occupied by pluripotency‐related and common factors (such as Oct4, TBP, Sox2, Nanog, Otx2) and active histone marks. Furthermore, hnRNP‐K localizes exclusively within open chromatin, implying its role in the onset and maintenance of this chromatin state. For all the fine print, head over to STEM CELLS now!

Insulin Promotes Human Embryonic Stem Cells Survival and Adhesion

While most human embryonic stem cell (hESC) maintenance medium contain insulin, we understand little regarding its role in single cell survival during the passaging process. In a recent STEM CELLS article, researchers led by Guokai Chen (University of Macau, Macau SAR, China) demonstrate that insulin activates the IGF1R/PI3K/AKT pathway and inhibits caspase activation and also stimulates integrin activation and promotes cell‐matrix and cell-cell adhesion. Overall, Godoy‐Parejo et al. establish the insulin/IGF pathway as a central player in cell survival and niche re‐formation during hESC passaging.

That’s a wrap for now! Please feel free to leave a comment and discuss the papers covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz. Happy reading!