The scientists responsible for the new molecule believe their breakthrough could be used to turn stem cells into a variety of cell types — paving the way for tissue regeneration.
Human induced pluripotent stem cells are adult stem cells capable of forming any type of cell. Their transformation is dictated by a series of genetic and protein signals. This gene expression process is triggered by specific molecules.
Scientists have previously discovered molecules capable of switching on genetic signals, but have yet to find molecules with the ability to turn off specific genetic signals in pluripotent stem cells.
Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan, however, have developed a new synthetic molecule, PIP-S2, that can alter gene signaling in hiPSCs. The molecule works by binding with a specific section of genetic coding.