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Role of Hox genes in stem cell differentiation

  • Hox genes are an evolutionary highly conserved gene family. They determine the anterior-posterior body axis in bilateral organisms and influence the developmental fate of cells. Embryonic stem cells are usually devoid of any Hox gene expression, but these transcription factors are activated in varying spatial and temporal patterns defining the development of various body regions. In the adult body, Hox genes are among others responsible for driving the differentiation of tissue stem cells towards their respective lineages in order to repair and maintain the correct function of tissues and organs. Due to their involvement in the embryonic and adult body, they have been suggested to be useable for improving stem cell differentiations in vitro and in vivo. In many studies Hox genes have been found as driving factors in stem cell differentiation towards adipogenesis, in lineages involved in bone and joint formation, mainly chondrogenesis and osteogenesis, in cardiovascular lineages including endothelial and smooth muscle cell differentiations, and in neurogenesis. As life expectancy is rising, the demand for tissue reconstruction continues to increase. Stem cells have become an increasingly popular choice for creating therapies in regenerative medicine due to their self-renewal and differentiation potential. Especially mesenchymal stem cells are used more and more frequently due to their easy handling and accessibility, combined with a low tumorgenicity and little ethical concerns. This review therefore intends to summarize to date known correlations between natural Hox gene expression patterns in body tissues and during the differentiation of various stem cells towards their respective lineages with a major focus on mesenchymal stem cell differentiations. This overview shall help to understand the complex interactions of Hox genes and differentiation processes all over the body as well as in vitro for further improvement of stem cell treatments in future regenerative medicine approaches.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Anne Seifert, David F. Werheid, Silvana M. Knapp, Edda Tobiasch
Parent Title (English):World J Stem Cells. (World Journal of Stem Cells)
First Page:583
Last Page:595
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=25914765
Publisher:Baishideng Publishing Group
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2015/04/26
Tag:Asymmetric cell division; Cell lineage; Development; Genes; Growth; Homeobox; Mesenchymal stromal cells; Patterning; Regeneration; Stem cells
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Angewandte Naturwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Entry in this database:2015/05/13
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell 4.0 International