Wednesday, 10 August 2011 20:19

Mitochondria from iPS stem cells mutate particularly frequently Featured

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Genetics have discovered that mutations occur in the iPS cell´s genome during re-programming of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). Mitochondria are particular affected by this.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) can tranform themselves into nearly every cell type. In contrast to embryonic stem cells, there is no ethical issue because they are not embryos but well-differentiated body cells used for production.  By gentechnical manipulation genes are added to the genome to induce pluripotent cells. In this stage the cells can differentiate into nearly every cell type. As scientists under the direction of James Adjaye from Max Planck Institute of Molecular Gentics have found out, mutations in the iPS´s genom occur, especially in the mitochondria, during the re-programming. Mitochondria have their own genome – i. e. it is not located in the cell nucleus but in the mitochondria themselves. After sequencing of the mitochondria´s genom, the scientists observed point mutations (substitutions). The frequency of the mutation differed depending on the iPS stem cell strain. Because these substitutions have no influence on the re-programming itself, the scientists strongly advised testing these mutations before the iPS are used in clinical applications.