Gene Regulatory Networks for Stem Cells Molecular Dynamics
Victor Olariu, Center for Models of Life, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are very important cell type and hold tremendous promise in developmental biology, medicine and clinical research. ESC have the capacity to self-renew and remain pluripotent, while continuously providing a source of a variety of differentiated cell types. It is very important to understand what governs the stem cell properties at mRNA and protein levels. Of particular relevance is to elucidate those molecular interactions, which govern stem cell decisions to stay in a naive or primed state or lead to commitment to various lineages. Computational approaches can be used as frameworks to explore the dynamics of core networks of the ESC with the aim to understand how stem cells differentiate and also how they can be reprogrammed from somatic cells. We consider minimal stem cell gene regulatory networks offering viable explanations of experimental findings showing that levels of core transcription factor OCT4 control pluripotency and differentiation. We also put forward an extended stem cell gene regulatory network which might orchestrate the important developmental decision of differentiation into primitive endoderm.