More on Lin28a and Enhanced Regeneration

Here is a better set of publicity materials describing recent research in which scientists demonstrated enhanced regeneration in mice:

By reactivating a dormant gene called Lin28a, which is active in embryonic stem cells, researchers were able to regrow hair and repair cartilage, bone, skin and other soft tissues in a mouse model. Lin28, first discovered in worms, functions in all complex organisms. It is abundant in embryonic stem cells, expressed strongly during early embryo formation and has been used to reprogram skin cells into stem cells. It acts by binding to RNA and regulating how genes are translated into proteins. [The] researchers found that Lin28a also enhances the production of metabolic enzymes in mitochondria, the structures that produce energy for the cell. By revving up a cell's bioenergetics, they found, Lin28a helps generate the energy needed to stimulate and grow new tissues.

"Efforts to improve wound healing and tissue repair have mostly failed, but altering metabolism provides a new strategy which we hope will prove successful. Most people would naturally think that growth factors are the major players in wound healing, but we found that the core metabolism of cells is rate-limiting in terms of tissue repair. The enhanced metabolic rate we saw when we reactivated Lin28a is typical of embryos during their rapid growth phase."

"We already know that accumulated defects in mitochondrial metabolism can lead to aging in many cells and tissues. We are showing the converse - that enhancement of mitochondrial metabolism can boost tissue repair and regeneration, recapturing the remarkable repair capacity of juvenile animals." Further experiments showed that bypassing Lin28a and directly activating mitochondrial metabolism with a small-molecule compound also had the effect of enhancing wound healing. This suggests the possibility of inducing regeneration and promoting tissue repair with drugs.



I am not a scientist (only have one brain cell). How do you reactivated the Lin28a gene. I tought that imposable. Can any person in normal language explain.

Posted by: heldeman at November 8th, 2013 9:22 AM

Lin28 is also a somewhat common cancer gene, which may partly explain why it is switched off when you are not a child. Regenerative medicine would be so much easier if we didn't have to worry about cancer. It's a pity WILT is so scary.

Posted by: Carl at November 9th, 2013 6:45 AM

Does Lin28a reside in mice or is it just injected? If so, what plant is it injected from? Since it's a cancer gene, does that mean it causes cancer? What do you mean, "switched off"? And, heldeman, even though I'm four years after you, I agree. Please explain in ENGLISH.

Posted by: Isabel at May 15th, 2017 5:36 PM

Sorry, about the plant thing in the second sentence, I meant organism.Thanks.

Posted by: Isabel at May 15th, 2017 5:37 PM

Isabel: As the article says, Lin28 es a gene present in most complex organisms, including mice. Lin28a is the protein it produces. It's usually active in stem cells during embryonic development, but also in cancer cells. It induces/facilitates the cell to reproduce faster, so it's logical that it's active in both. "Switched off" means that it stopped producing the protein.

Posted by: Antonio at May 16th, 2017 12:18 AM
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