A team of scientists in the UK and Italy has discovered a switch that instructs #blood vessel cells to become blood #stem cells during #embryonic development in mice. These findings could aid research into new blood cell creation for #transplants.
Using single-cell technology, researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Rome discovered that two sets of specific factors in the cells work against each other, and when the balance of these changes, the vascular tube cells convert to blood stem cells. These findings could pave the way for further research into creating new blood cells for transplants and for understanding cancer development.
This was the first time that anyone has been able to show how a group of transcription factors causes a vascular cell to choose to develop into a blood stem cell, and demonstrates the power of #single-cell transcriptomics for characterising really complex systems of transcription factors.