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Single-Cell Sequencing Approach Homes in on Signaling Pathway in Gastric Cell Differentiation 

Researchers have uncovered the signaling pathways involved in the renewal of cells in the glandular stomach. In their study appearing in Nature Communications, researchers from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan used the single-cell RNA sequencing method Quartz-Seq2 to examine gene expression in progenitor cells as they differentiate into pit cells, neck cells, and parietal cells within mice. Defects in the differentiation of gastric progenitor cells have been linked to a number of diseases, including gastritis and gastric cancer. With a combination of pseudotime gene analysis and analyses in gastric organoids, the researchers found that EGFR-ERK signaling appears to promote differentiation, while NF-κB signaling promotes keeping the cells in an undifferentiated state. Further, inhibiting EGFR pharmacologically led to a decrease in the number of pit cells. "We knew that EGFR signaling is intricately involved in gastric cancers and several EGF receptors are overexpressed in various cancers," senior author Akira Kurisaki from NAIST says in a statement. "However, it was a pleasant surprise to find through our single-cell analysis that EGFR signaling has a differentiation-promoting role rather than a mitogenic role in healthy gastric homeostasis."

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.