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Mature animal cells reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells

Mature animal cells reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has awarded The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012 jointly to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for demonstrating the potential of a mature cell to be reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells. It may be mentioned here that it’s a different story with plants. Through manipulation of the proportion of kinetin and auxin, mature parenchymateous tissue of plants may be induced to de-differentiate and re-differentiate.The outstanding discovery by the Nobel Laureates was about the manipulation of living cells, and lie at the heart of the techniques for cloning animals and generating stem cells. Gurdon found in 1962 that the specialization of cells is reversible. He removed the nucleus from a frog egg cell and replaced it with a nucleus from another cell, taken from the intestine of a tadpole. At the time, scientists weren’t sure if different cells in different parts of the body had the same set of genetic instructions. But Gurdon’s investigating intestinal nucleus did grow into a fully functioning tadpole. His work revolutionized the understanding of developmental biology and cell fate in that a genome contains all the information needed to transform a cell into a whole organism. On other hand, Yamanaka showed that whole mammalian adult cells could be reverted into an embryonic-like state by treating them with a cocktail of protein factors. These induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are alike to embryonic stem cells that give rise to every tissue in the body. He accomplished the feat, firstly in mouse cells and later in human cells. These revolutionary discoveries have entirely changed our notion on the developmental and cellular specialization. We now realize that the mature cell does not have to be restricted everlastingly to its specialized shape.[Summarized by the BMB, DUgraduate student Samasad Razzaque]

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