Friday, 29 January 2016

System biology provides a magic wand for cell reprogramming

This is not exactly genomic, but it is based on genomic data and so fascinating that I had to report about it!

In a letter appeared recently on Nature Genetics, Rackham et al. proposed the Mogrify tool, a web-based interface that can predict the minimum set of trancription factors (TF) needed for a specific cell type reprogramming. The idea that somatic cells can be reprogrammed across different cell types has been around for a while, but a systematic assessment of the conditions needed for each conversion has never been carried out, mainly due to the amount of time and effort needed to test the various combination of TFs experimentally.

The authors took advantage of the huge amount of data produced by the FANTOM project to calculate the specific transcriptional landscape of different cell types and then developed a method that could predict which TFs should be overexpressed to move a specific cell type to another one.

With Mogrify it could be now much easier to perform reprogramming experiments, an approach with a potential great impact for regenerative medicine.

The idea behind this interesting tool is summarized in Figure 1 from the paper as you can see below

The Mogrify algorithm for predicting transcription factors for cell conversion.

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