Sunday, 23 February 2014

MIPT presented lectures on iTunes

My alma mater, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) is the first among Russian Universities, which placed its lectures on iTunes University!

15 theoretical physics lectures and 12 thermodynamics lectures are available now and even more is coming soon! It is so easy now to refresh the memory!

Source: MIPT news

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Convertion of somatic cells into stem cells!

Scientists from Harvard Medical School developed unique and, the most important, simple method to trig the development of somatic cells into stem cells.

Our body mostly consists from normal, somatic cells, which are fully developed and which gene expression patterns are customized for a specific tissue to perform its function. However, we also have the stem cells, which  are able to differentiate into any tissue of the organism and to replace aged or ill somatic cells. The Nobel prize in medicine  in 2012 was given to scientists, who can revert the process of stem cells differentiation and to produce stem cells from skin fibroblasts using 4 transcriptions factors. Although the substance consists from only four components, the technology is difficult and it is not applicable for for large amount of cells. 

Now, as a major of great scientific discoveries, a very simple method for converting somatic cells into stem cells was discovered occasionally. Dr. Haruko Obokata just added acid (creating low pH) to the mouse blood, and what lead to spontaneous conversion of lymphocytes into stem cells! 

This method creates the basis for development of stem cell medicine, however, we should wait until it will be tried on human cells. 

 image: University of Wisconsin-Madison
More information: Nature

Thursday, 23 January 2014

TCF3 and TCF4 are maintainer of skin epithelial stem cells

TCF is a family of DNA binding proteins, which are participating in the overall embryo development and in particular in epithelium's   development. The member of TCF family, TCF3, works together with WNT signalling in order gastrulation to proceed.  However, it was thought that after development TCF3 remains only as marker of follicle stem cells and works only with combination with WNT-signaling pathway  during wounding, induces the epidermis to undergo de novo hair follicle morphogenesis. 

Recently the team of Dr. Nguen from the Rockefeller University Tcf3 and Tcf4 are the key transcription factors to maintain long-term epidermal homeostasis. Overall, Tcf3 and Tcf4 may be essential for establishing and maintaining all skin epithelial stem cells through Wnt-dependent and Wnt-independent roles.

Saturday, 18 January 2014


Telocytes (TCs), a particular interstitial cell type, have been recently described in a wide variety of mammalian organs. The TCs are identified morphologically by a small cell body and extremely long (tens to hundreds of micrometer), thin prolongations (less than 100 nm in diameter, below the resolving power of light microscopy) called telopodes

Recently,  Ceafalan et al (2012) demonstrated that TCs were present in human dermis. In particular, TCs were found in the reticular dermis and  around blood vessels. Screening for antigens showed two subpopulations of dermal TCs; one of which was positive for CD34, which is hallmark of stem cells. The TCs were connected to each other by homocellular junctions, and they formed an interstitial 3D network.  Moreover, TCs established atypical heterocellular junctions with stem cells (clusters of undifferentiated cells). 

Probably, TC could be one of most significant  parts of skin regeneration's enigma.

Source:  Ceafalan et al (2012)