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  • Five Questions Asked: Prof. Dr. Jacco van Rheenen speaks about the most important considerations when imaging deep into mouse tissue

    When operating a confocal microscope, or when discussing features and parameters of such a device, we inescapably mention the pinhole and its diameter. This short introductory document is meant to explain the significance of the pinhole for those, who did not want to spend too much time to dig into theory and details of confocal microscopy but wanted to have an idea about the effect of the pinhole.
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  • Adeno-associated Viral Vectors do not Efficiently Target Muscle Satellite Cells

    Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors are becoming an important tool for gene therapy of numerous genetic and other disorders. Several recombinant AAV vectors (rAAV) have the ability to transduce striated muscles in a variety of animals following intramuscular and intravascular administration, and have attracted widespread interest for therapy of muscle disorders such as the muscular dystrophies. Here we examined the relative ability of rAAV vectors derived from AAV6 to target myoblasts, myocytes, and myotubes in culture and satellite cells and myofibers in vivo. AAV vectors are able to transduce proliferating myoblasts in culture, albeit with reduced efficiency relative to postmitotic myocytes and myotubes. In contrast, quiescent satellite cells are refractory to transduction in adult mice.
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  • The Bimodally Expressed MicroRNA miR‐142 Gates Exit from Pluripotency

    A stem cell's decision to self‐renew or differentiate is thought to critically depend on signaling cues provided by its environment. It is unclear whether stem cells have the intrinsic capacity to control their responsiveness to environmental signals that can be fluctuating and noisy. Using a novel single‐cell microRNA activity reporter, we show that miR‐142 is bimodally expressed in embryonic stem cells, creating two states indistinguishable by pluripotency markers.
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  • "We can go home and the imaging is done automatically by the Leica HCS A Matrix Screener."

    Jutta Maria Bulkescher is the technical coordinator in the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research and Danish Stem Cell Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Leica HCS-A matrix screener is an invaluable tool for her facility. "It just gives us the biggest and easiest flexibility we can have to set up different imaging paramters and to check different conditions on one multi-well plate", explains Bulkescher.
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  • Switching Roles: The Functional Plasticity of Adult Tissue Stem Cells

    Adult organisms have to adapt to survive, and the same is true for their tissues. Rates and types of cell production must be rapidly and reversibly adjusted to meet tissue demands in response to both local and systemic challenges. Recent work reveals how stem cell (SC) populations meet these requirements by switching between functional states tuned to homoeostasis or regeneration.
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  • Identification of Molecular Pathways Facilitating Glioma Cell Invasion In Situ

    Gliomas are mostly incurable secondary to their diffuse infiltrative nature. Thus, specific therapeutic targeting of invasive glioma cells is an attractive concept. As cells exit the tumor mass and infiltrate brain parenchyma, they closely interact with a changing micro-environmental landscape that sustains tumor cell invasion.
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  • The Environment Makes the Stem Cell

    A recent publication in Nature shows that all stem cells divide and compete for niche space by passively "kicking out" others so that eventually one stem cell takes over the whole niche. Jacco van Rheenen and Saskia Ellenbroek talk about a new method of intravital imaging, which allows following the fate of individual stem cells over time in vivo and explains the new paradigm for stem cell development in the intestinal stem cell niche.
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  • Direct In Vivo Evidence for Tumor Propagation by Glioblastoma Cancer Stem Cells

    Cancer research using multiphoton microscopy. High-grade gliomas (World Health Organization grade III anaplastic astrocytoma and grade IV glioblastoma multiforme), the most prevalent primary malignant brain tumors, display a cellular hierarchy with self-renewing, tumorigenic cancer stem cells (CSCs) at the apex. While the CSC hypothesis has been an attractive model to describe many aspects of tumor behavior, it remains controversial due to unresolved issues including the use of ex vivo analyses with differential growth conditions.
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  • Stem Cells in the Aging Process – the Signal Protein p53 as "Guardian of the Genome"

    The physiological process of aging is an elementary part of life. The processes responsible for the aging process and the effect they have is one of the key focuses of biomedical research. Dr. Yvonne Begus-Nahrmann researches molecular mechanisms in stem cells and their role in aging and tumor development at the Göttingen University Medical Center. Signal proteins such as p53 and p21 appear to play an important role in this context. To investigate these proteins in specific cell types, the cells are isolated from organ tissue with the aid of laser microdissection.
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  • Nobel Prize 2012 in Physiology or Medicine for Stem Cell Research

    The Nobel Prize recognizes two scientists who discovered that mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body. Their findings have revolutionised our understanding of how cells and organisms develop.
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  • Order versus Disorder

    In modern biomaterial design the generation of an environment mimicking some of the extracellular matrix features is envisaged to support molecular cross-talk between cells and scaffolds during tissue formation/remodeling. In bone substitutes chemical biomimesis has been particularly exploited; conversely, the relevance of pre-determined scaffold architecture for regenerated bone outputs is still unclear.
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  • Stem Cell Biology in Cancer Research

    The comprehension of stem cell biology and its molecular basis is now acquiring paramount importance in cancer research. The need to look at a single, possibly living, cell makes fluorescence microscopy and confocal microscopy invaluable allies in the study of stem cells.
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  • Detection and Characterization of Hepatic Engraftment of Embryonic Stem Derived Cells by Fluorescent Stereomicroscopy

    Embryonic stem (ES) cells have been investigated as a potential replacement therapy for failed organs, such as the liver. However, detection of hepatic engraftment from candidate stem cells has been difficult due to low engraftment efficiency. Previous detection methods required that the graft be processed by molecular and/or immunohistochemical techniques, limiting further functional studies. This study evaluated the use of three-dimensional fluorescent stereomicroscopy for gross detection of ES cell derived hepatic engraftment.
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