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Bulletproof nuclei? Stem cells exhibit unusual absorption property

Dr Kevin Chalut led a study that reports having observed auxeticity in the nuclei of embryonic stem cells.

The auxetic properties only appear in the stem cell’s nucleus when it is in the transition stage, changing from an embryonic, non-specific stem cell into a differentiated, tissue-specific cell, such as a heart tissue cell. Dr Chalut and colleagues treated the transitioning cell’s cytoplasm, the fluid surrounding the nucleus, with a coloured dye and found that when they stretched the nucleus, it absorbed the dye, suggesting that it had expanded to become porous. It is possible that it does so to absorb molecules from the cytoplasm or environment which would help the cell differentiate.

Read more here.

Full article in Nature Materials.

Publication details:

Pagliara S, Franze K, McClain CR, Wylde GW, Fisher CL, Franklin RJ, Kabla AJ, Keyser UF, Chalut KJ. Auxetic nuclei in embryonic stem cells exiting pluripotency. Nature Materials. PMID: 24747782

Auxetic nuclei

Transition ES cells demonstrated a material property called auxeticity. Auxeticity, as can be seen in crumpled paper, is a unique material property yielding cross-sectional expansion when a material is stretched

Image credit: Jens Grosche

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