Neuronal identity certify by particular transcription element

Neurodegenerative disease researchers have developed a protocol for the consistent transformation of stem cells of fibroblast origin into specific classes of neurons for brain research and drug development. Transient expression of certain transcription factors has been found to endow non-neural cells with neuronal properties. The relationship between reprogramming factors and the transcriptional networks that produce neuronal identity and diversity remains largely unknown. Investigators at The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA; USA) screened 598 pairs of transcription factors in a mouse model system.
They reported that 76 pairs of transcription factors 12.7% induced mouse fibroblasts to differentiate into cells with neuronal features. By comparing the transcriptomes of these induced neuronal cells in cells with those of natural neurons, the investigators defined a core cell-autonomous neuronal signature. The problem with understanding and treating the many disorders of the brain is that we cannot reproducibly produce the right types of brain cells. Now we have found more than 75 new ways to rapidly and reproducibly turn skin cells into neurons that we think will be much better representatives of different neurologic diseases that were previously available. Having a personalized and nearly unlimited supply of different types of neuronal cells in a dish lets you uncover what is going wrong in a disease. At the same time, the study supplies a new toolkit to test thousands of drugs on the affected cells to try to reverse the problems, rather than having to test them in mice or other animals, with results that are often difficult to interpret for human conditions.”
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