The requirement for proteomics to unravel stem cell regulatory mechanisms

Journal of Cellular Physiology
Andrew J K Williamson, Anthony D Whetton


Stem cells are defined by their ability to self-renew and to differentiate, the processes whereby these events are achieved is the subject of much investigation. These studies include cancer stem cell populations, where eradication of this specific population is the ultimate goal of treatment. Whilst cellular signalling events and transcription factor complex-mediated changes in gene expression have been analysed in some detail within stem cells, full systematic understanding of the events promoting self-renewal or the commitment process leading to formation of a specific cell type require a systems biology approach. This in turn demands a need for proteomic analysis of post-translational regulation of protein levels, protein interactions, protein post-translational modification (e.g. ubiquitination, methylation, acetylation, phosphorylation) to identify networks for stem cell regulation. Furthermore, the phenomenon of induced pluripotency via cellular reprogramming also can be understood optimally using combined molecular biology and proteomics approaches; here we describe current research employing proteomics and mass spectrometry to dissect stem cell regulatory mechanisms.


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