Today’s The Niche recommended weekly reads post includes both primary papers and also a few media pieces. I’m especially interested in the first piece on making more complex embryo-like structures from ES cells.
This is a long way from just making embryoid bodies or EBs.
At the end of the post I discuss an article that highlighted what seems to be a super-pricey new fee-scheme for open access work and review at Nature Publishing.
Artificial embryos, bioengineered thymus
- Mouse embryonic stem cells self-organize into trunk-like structures with neural tube and somites, Science. This one really bears on the field of artificial embryos, which we’ve often covered here on The Niche. Matrigel ends up being the niche of a sort here. See image above.
- Reconstitution of a functional human thymus by postnatal stromal progenitor cells and natural whole-organ scaffolds, Nature Communications. Interestingly and sadly in a way, as we age the thymus dramatically shrinks and becomes replaced with adipose. One can imagine ways in which generating a new thymus could be helpful for specific medical conditions.
Chromatin, histones including H1, integrative biology, more
- Chromatin and Nuclear Architecture in Stem Cells, Stem Cell Reports. A review by Eran Meshorer and Kathrin Plath.
- Histone H1 loss drives lymphoma by disrupting 3D chromatin architecture, Nature. Links continue to be established between alterations in histones and cancer. The most prominent to date is the connection between mutations in histone H3.3 and various childhood brain and bone tumors. Our own recent work on using CRISPR to define the functions of the K27M and G34R H3.3 mutations in glioma found some overlap between genes altered by K27M and G34R. I also wrote more about the backstory of that research project here.
- The same issue of Nature has more on the normal function of histone H1 in this article: H1 histones control the epigenetic landscape by local chromatin compaction. Twenty years ago it seems like people often dismissed H1 as “just a linker.”
- Histone Modifications in Stem Cell Development and Their Clinical Implications, Stem Cell Reports. From Axel Imhof and co-authors.
- Genetic interaction mapping informs integrative structure determination of protein complexes, Science. I’ve got to take a closer look at this one.
The Niche selected media on science, stem cells and regenerative medicine
- WaPo, Stem cell research finds a unique lab — the International Space Station. If humans are to go on long-haul space voyages our stem cells better fare well out there or we’ll be in deep trouble health-wise.
- Discover, Is the Dawn of the Stem Cell Revolution Finally Here? Which revolution specifically? Can we find such headlines from 10 years ago?
- Forbes, Prestige Journal Publisher, Nature, Slaps Scientists In The Face. The fees in this new OA program are so over the top and create barriers for scientists around the world who may not have such amounts to go toward just publishing fees. For example, you can now pay over $10,000. From the Forbes piece by Steven Salzberg: “publishers of Nature announced that they will charge authors €9,500 ($11,500) to publish a paper as open access, meaning readers can get the paper without a subscription. They called this, without a trace of irony, their “gold open access option.” Arguably more nutso is the new option to pay $2,600 just for a preliminary review of your paper with, of course, no guarantee that your manuscript will get published. Yes, it didn’t escape me that I often, including in today’s recommended reads, link to Nature family journal publications despite disagreeing with some of their policies like the new fees. We can’t just ignore the good science, right? Some like Salzberg have suggested decline requests to review Nature family papers until they drop their new policies with the wildly high fees.