Ever wondered how we develop from a cluster of cells into the living and breathing, unique and separate, human beings that we are? Well, stem cells have a lot to answer for. Stem cell differentiation describes a process in early foetal development, where a generic (undifferentiated) cell develops into a specific type of cell. While it’s known that this process is governed within the cell’s nucleus, the exact mechanisms for the reprogramming have remained unknown. Now, scientists reveal the protein, called histone 3.3 (stained red in the cells pictured), as one of the essential factors involved in switching the cell nuclei into a pluripotent state that harnesses the potential to differentiate into almost any cell in the body.
Written by Yalda Javadi
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.