Infections & Stem Cells

Molecular Stiffness of Selectins
by Krishna K. Sarangpani, Bryan T. Marshall, Roger P. McEver, & Cheng Zhu
The Journal of Biological Chemistry

Infection alert! In this time of sniffles and coughs, how our bodies fight back against the ravages of infection is of particular interest, especially to researchers in Dr. Cheng Zhu’s lab in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. While white blood cells (leukocytes) are known to fight infection, how the leukocytes congregate to a point of infection is an important point of study with selectins playing a key role. Selectins facilitate this congregation of leukocytes by rolling adhesion, which is, anchoring the leukocytes in place against the flow of bodily fluids. Researchers have found values for molecular stiffness for several selectins (L-, E-, and P-) to be 4.2, 1.4, and 0.85 piconewton/nm respectively. With a greater understanding of the mechanical properties of the molecules that help fight infection, greater therapeutic answers may soon follow.

Cultured Human Bone Marrow–Derived CD31+ Cells Are Effective for Cardiac and Vascular Repair Through Enhanced Angiogenic, Adhesion, and Anti-Inflammatory Effects
by Sung-Whan Kim, PhD, Mackenzie Houge, BS, Milton Brown, BS, Michael E. Davis, PhD, Young-sup Yoon, MD, PhD
Journal of the American College of Cardiology

The recipe for the perfect stem cell is so elusive even Martha Stewart hasn’t figured it out yet. However, Dr. Yoon-sup Yoon’s lab and fellow researchers are getting closer day by day. In a recent publication, they announced the advantages of short-term cultured EC-CD31(+) cells. Not only do these cells have better anti-inflammatory potential, vessel-formation, cell engraftment and cardiomyocyte proliferation compared to current cell therapy conditions, but they are highly effective for both cardiac and peripheral vascular repair. Such research is hoped to better cell-based regenerative therapies for ischemic cardiovascular disease.

Purification of cardiomyocytes from differentiating pluripotent stem cells using molecular beacons that target cardiomyocyte-specific mRNA.
by Ban K, Wile B, Kim S, Park HJ, Byun J, Cho KW, Saafir T, Song MK, Yu SP, Wagner M, Bao G, Yoon YS.
Circulation

Tidying up one’s latest batch of stem cells is another issue in the forefront of the Yoon lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In the production of cardiomyocytes (CMs) from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), current practices lead to mixtures of purity levels of 53% CMs and 47% nonCMs at best. These heterogeneous mixtures are especially dangerous as they have been shown to lead to a high rate of tumors. The Yoon lab though is working on a novel approach to generate cardiomyocytes at unprecedented levels of 97% CMs through the use of targeted molecular beams. Furthermore, current CMs purified from this new method have formed zero tumors to date. This novel method of purification may also theoretically be used for other cells, making stem cell treatment more effective than ever.



Figure for Cultured Human Bone Marrow–Derived CD31+ Cells Are Effective for Cardiac and Vascular Repair Through Enhanced Angiogenic, Adhesion, and Anti-Inflammatory Effects