Wednesday, 15 January 2020 16:25

Totipotent-like cells generated in a new way Featured

A research group at Helmholtz Zentrum München has discovered that specific metabolites can stimulate the formation of totipotent-like cells from pluripotent cells. These findings open up new possibilities for cell reprogramming.

Until now, it was not known whether totipotent cells differ from pluripotent cells in their metabolic needs and activities. In order to answer this question, the research group led by Diego Rodriguez-Terrones from the Institute of Epigenetics and Stem Cells and Dr. Götz Hartleben from the Institute of Diabetes and Cancer started their investigations by comparing the gene expression of pluripotent and totipotent-like cells, which are formed from pluripotent cells in the Petri dish and are also referred to as "2-cell-like" cells.

They found that totipotent-like cells showed reduced glycolytic and respiratory activity, lower amounts of reactive oxygen species and increased glucose uptake compared to pluripotent cells, indicating a shift in the metabolic program in 2-cell-like cell reprogramming.

In addition, the researchers found that they were able to induce totipotent-like cells through defined metabolites. By adding 20 different metabolites, they found three metabolites that stimulated the reprogramming of pluripotent into totipotent cells in the Petri dish.

The research was described in the Journal EMBO Reports:
D. Rodriguez-Terrones et al. (2019). A distinct metabolic state arises during the emergence of 2-cell-like cells. EMBO Reports,