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New protein required for human embryonic stem cell renewal discovered

21 Dec 2011

A research group led by Professor Riitta Lahesmaa at Turku Centre for Biotechnology has discovered a new protein L1TD1 exploiting genome wide transcriptomics. This RNA-binding protein is highly expressed by human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and is required for their renewal.

Human pluripotent stem cells have a unique capacity to give rise to all somatic tissues. While expectations for the utilisation of stem cells for therapeutic approaches are high, it is important to find out how the unique qualities of hESCs are regulated. This study reports a novel mechanism to maintain hESC renewal.

The L1TD1 protein is also highly expressed in seminomas and influences proliferation of these cancer cells. As L1TD1 may in the future be used in cancer diagnosis or exploited in therapeutic approaches, the novel discovery contributes to both stem cell and cancer research.

The findings are based on the long-term studies of the group with Elisa Närvä, Nelly Rahkonen, Maheswara Reddy Emani and Riikka Lund as key investigators. The study is published in the international journal Stem Cells.

Närvä E, Rahkonen N, Emani MR, Lund R, Pursiheimo JP, Nästi J, Autio R, Rasool O, Denessiouk K, Lähdesmäki H, Rao A, Lahesmaa R. RNA Binding Protein L1TD1 Interacts with LIN28 via RNA and is Required for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Cancer Cell Proliferation.
Stem Cells. 2011 Dec 12. doi: 10.1002/stem.1013. [Epub ahead of print]

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