Stem cells are fighting with a viral infection

Scientists from Singapore found in embryonic stem cells, a mechanism to inhibit viral gene expression. The discovery allows to use stem cells in antiviral therapy and diagnostics. The study was published September 10, 2015 in the journal Cell.

Several types of stem cells, including embryonic (ESC) and hematopoietic (HSC) are known, capable of suppressing the activity of the viral DNA into the host genome. This property, known as proviral silencing, has so far been little studied.

For a more detailed study of this phenomenon, a team of scientists from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, IMCB Agency for Science, Technology and Research, A * STAR developed a technique that allows for the screening of all the genes of embryonic stem cells.

Using screening, the researchers found 303 gene and 148 of the biological mechanisms responsible for proviral silencing, which indicates its coordinated management with the help of multicellular processes. After carrying out comprehensive tests scientists came to the conclusion that the key factors of the proviral silencing are two genes – Chaf1a and Sumo2.

Further study of these genes may open new horizons for cellular therapy with stem cells, and in diagnosing viral diseases.

“This is the first detailed study of the proviral silencing in embryonic stem cells, which allowed to understand the principle of the process. With the acquired knowledge, we will be able to develop diagnostic methods to study the activity of the viral DNA into the stem cells in various diseases, “- said the study’s lead author Dr. Jonathan Loh.