Investigators at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made the first comparative, large-scale phosphoproteomic analysis of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and their differentiated derivatives.
The data may help stem cell researchers understand the mechanisms that determine whether stem cells divide or differentiate, what types of cells they become and how to control those complex mechanisms to facilitate development of new therapies.
The study was published in the August 6 issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell.
Protein phosphorylation, the biochemical process that modifies protein activities by adding a phosphate molecule, is central to cell signaling. Using sophisticated phosphoproteomic analyses, the team of Sheng Ding, Ph.D., associate professor at TSRI, Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of Burnham’s Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology program, and Laurence M. Brill, Ph.D., senior scientist at Burnham’s Proteomics Facility, catalogued 2,546 phosphorylation sites on 1,602 phosphoproteins. Prior to this research, protein phosphorylation in hESCs was poorly understood. Identification of these phosphorylation sites provides insights into known and novel hESC signaling pathways and highlights signaling mechanisms that influence self-renewal and differentiation.
“This research will be a big boost for stem cell scientists,” said Dr. Brill. “The protein phosphorylation sites identified in this study are freely available to the broader research community, and researchers can use these data to study the cells in greater depth and determine how phosphorylation events determine a cell’s fate.”
This research shows that phosphoproteomic data can be a powerful tool to broaden understanding of hESCs and how their ultimate fate is determined. With this knowledge, stem cell researchers may be able to develop more focused methods to control hESC differentiation and move closer to clinical therapies.
Source: Burnham Institute, USA