Stem-cell differentiation

Stem-cell differentiation is the process by which a more specialised cell is formed from a stem cell, leading to loss of some of the stem cell's developmental potential. Stem-cell differentiation occurs during development of an organism to produce new specialised cells, and also in adults to replenish cells that are lost.

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  • News and Views |

    Patients with diabetes could benefit from cell-based insulin therapy, but the supply of human islet tissue is limited. A study now reports an approach in which human-pluripotent-stem-cell-derived islet β-cells are purified and re-aggregated to generate cells that more closely resemble mature human β-cells.

    • Hans E. Hohmeier
    • , Jie An
    •  & Christopher B. Newgard
    Nature Cell Biology 21, 119-121
  • News and Views |

    The establishment of the two distinct lineages that form the branched epithelial ductal tree of the mammary gland is a complex and essential developmental process. Two independent studies now describe the switch from multipotency to unipotency as an embryonic process and outline mechanisms of early lineage restriction.

    • Philip Bland
    •  & Beatrice A. Howard
    Nature Cell Biology 20, 637-639
  • News and Views |

    To overcome the finite supply of muscle stem cells available for cell therapy, a study now describes a strategy for obtaining an unlimited source of myogenic progenitors derived from human pluripotent cells. Two neuronal cell surface receptors facilitate the selection of a population with enhanced regenerative potential.

    • Andrew T. V. Ho
    •  & Helen M. Blau
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Biomaterials engineered with specific bioactive ligands, tunable mechanical properties and complex architecture have emerged as powerful tools to probe cell sensing and response to physical properties of their material surroundings, and ultimately provide designer approaches to control cell function.

    • Linqing Li
    • , Jeroen Eyckmans
    •  & Christopher S. Chen
    Nature Materials 16, 1164-1168
  • News and Views |

    Determining the differentiation potential of stem and progenitor cells is essential for understanding their function, yet our ability to do so is limited by the restrictions of experimental assays. Based on single-cell functional and molecular profiling experiments, a new computational approach shows how lineage commitment may occur in human haematopoiesis.

    • Fiona K. Hamey
    •  & Berthold Göttgens
    Nature Cell Biology 19, 261-263