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Difference of Expression

Muscle stem cells within the body have different gene expression patterns than those isolated from the body, according to a new study.

Researchers from Stanford University analyzed the transcriptomes of quiescent muscle stem cells in vivo by labeling muscle stem cell-specific transcripts. As they report this week in Cell Reports, when such cells were then isolated, though they were still quiescent, a specific subset of genes were actively transcribed, while other gene transcripts were degraded.

"The cells in the animal clearly differ from those that are removed for study," says senior author Thomas Rando from Stanford in a statement. "It's likely that some of these notable differences will skew our view of what the quiescent state entails for many types of adult stem cells. We and other researchers will need to rethink about how to profile stem cells in a way that accurately reflects their in vivo state."

He and his colleagues also note that the quiescent muscle stem cells were more active than expected. They report that a number of RNA transcripts are made in such cells, but are destroyed before they become proteins and that some proteins are made, but are degraded quickly.