Illuminating Hidden Features of Stem Cells

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In recent years stem cells become a major topic both publicly and scientifically owing to their promise to cure diseases and restore organ functionality. Yet our understanding of the biology of stem cells and their inherent features is largely lagging behind the great promise of using these cells in transplantation therapies. In this chapter we highlight several aspects of the biology of stem cells/induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that are often overlooked. We define stem cells not only by their developmental capacities, namely, self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation, but also by their inherent features. We present new bioinformatic data and draw the stem cell picture based on recent knowledge emerging from studying stem cells in plant and animal systems with emphasis on chromatin structure. We highlight some of the potentially hazardous pathways associated with cellular dedifferentiation (iPS cells) and with culturing stem cells. Notably, genomic modification associated with iPS cells is often discussed with respect to the methodology of introducing reprogramming genes into the host cells, namely, lentiviral/retroviral transduction, while ignoring the potential genomic modification naturally associated with dedifferentiation or with stress events. Based on our understanding of cellular processes accompanied stress response and cellular dedifferentiation we discuss strategies for improving the quantity and quality of iPS cells.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Embryonic Stem Cells: Basic Biology to Bioengineering
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2011


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