Modeling peri-implantation events using human embryonic stem cells

Project ID: 925

Cube proposed by: Deborah L. Gumucio

Unit: Medicine

Cycle: MCubed 2.0

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About this project: 
We have detected a new cellular structure (a survivosome) that appears to function in two ways in human and mouse embryonic stem cells: a) it insures that isolated cells don't die and b) it serves as a scaffold for building a lumen. The survivosome forms next to the nucleus in single cells. After the cell divides, the survivosome is inserted into the membrane between the mother and daughter cell. We are studying how this complex structure forms, how it protects the isolated cells from death, how it is transported to the common membrane between the two cells and how it finally matures to become the lumen of a growing cyst. Since cyst or tube formation is a key aspect of development of many tissues and organs, a clear understanding of how these structures form will reveal important aspects of cell behavior.