Proteomes and Signalling Pathways of Antler Stem Cells

As the only known example of complete organ regeneration in mammals, deer antler in the growing or velvet phase is of major interest in developmental biology. This regeneration event initiates from self-renewing antler stem cells that exhibit pluripotency. At present, it remains unclear how the activation and quiescence of antler stem cells are regulated. Therefore, in the present study proteins that were differentially expressed between the antler stem cells and somatic cells (facial periosteum) were identified by a gel-based proteomic technique, and analysed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software. Several molecular pathways (PI3K/Akt, ERK/MAPK, p38 MAPK, etc.) were found to be activated during proliferation. Also expressed were the transcription factors POU5F1, SOX2, NANOG and MYC, which are key markers of embryonic stem cells. Expression of these proteins was confirmed in both cultured cells and fresh tissues by Western blot analysis. Therefore, the molecular pathways and transcription factors identified in the current study are common to embryonic and adult stem cells. However, expression of embryonic stem cell transcription factors would suggest that antler stem cells are, potentially, an intermediary stem cell type between embryonic and the more specialized tissue-specific stem cells like those residing in muscle, fat or from a hematopoietic origin. The retention of this embryonic, pluripotent lineage may be of fundamental importance for the subsequent regenerative capacity of antlers.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Li, C., Harper, A., Puddick, J., Wang, W., & McMahon, C. (2012). Proteomes and Signalling Pathways of Antler Stem Cells. (A. Bergmann, Ed.)PLoS ONE, 7(1), first published online 2012.
Public Library of Science