Editors' ChoiceDifferentiation

Reduced to Divide

Science's STKE  05 Sep 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 48, pp. tw6
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.48.tw6

Progenitor cells respond to signals in their environment to continue dividing without differentiating in a process called self-renewal or to divide a limited number of times and then to differentiate. Smith et al. found that the redox state of progenitor glial cells not only correlates with their self-renewal capacity, but that pharmacological manipulation of the redox state can alter the balance between self-renewal and differentiation. Dyes sensitive to redox state, such as reduced Rosamine (Ros), were used successfully to label and sort cells into groups with a more reducing intracellular environment (Ros-low) and cells with a more oxidizing environment (Ros-high). The Ros-low cells exhibited high frequency of self-renewing cells, whereas the Ros-high cells divided fewer times and differentiated into oligodendrocytes at a high frequency. Chemicals that alter the intracellular redox state to a more reducing potential promote self-renewal and block the ability of extracellular factors to promote differentiation and vice versa for chemicals that increase intracellular oxidizing equivalents. The authors suggest that changes in the redox state may be central to integrating of multiple signaling process that influence differentiation and self-renewal.

Smith, J., Ladi, E., Mayer-Pröschel , M.M., and Noble, M. (2000) Redox state is a central modulator of the balance between self-renewal and differentiation in a dividing glial precursor cell. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 97: 10032 -10037. [Abstract] [Full Text]