How do some cells become brain cells and others become skin cells

The genetic makeup or DNA of all cells in an adult body is the same. A breakthrough in study has shown that mature cells from human skin may be converted straight into brain cells, bypassing the stem cell stage. How do some cells become brain cells and others become skin cells.

how do some cells become brain cells and others become skin cells
how do some cells become brain cells and others become skin cells

How do some cells become brain cells and others become skin cells

  • This is an excellent issue, and one that perplexed me when I first began dealing with cells. All of the cells in our body are generated from embryonic stem cells; these cells are unique in that they are ‘pluripotent,’ meaning they may produce any cell type, and they also have a limitless ability to ‘self-renew’ (make more of themselves).

During development, each cell must make ‘choices’ about the kind of cell it will become in reaction to its environment and signals from other cells. To do this, certain of the genes encoded in their DNA are expressed more (‘upregulated, activated, or turned on’) than others (‘downregulated, deactivated, or switched off’).

Differential gene expression makes a cell more or less likely to develop (or ‘differentiate’) into a certain cell type, for example, if the liver cell genes are turned on, it will most likely become a liver cell. In nature, we traditionally regard these ‘cell destiny choices’ to be irreversible — that is, once a brain cell becomes a brain cell, it cannot decide to become a skin cell, for example.

You are correct, however, that even after the decision is made, practically all cells in the body will still possess the same DNA and use the same pieces of it to build the same fundamental required proteins for cellular life. I say ‘nearly all’ because certain cell types, such as red blood cells, lose their nucleus (and hence their DNA) as they develop.

The main idea is that various cell types will make more of the proteins that are most critical for that cell type’s functioning, utilizing specific portions of the DNA that may be redundant in other cell types.

The exciting part is that scientists have found a mechanism to convert adult differentiated cells back into pluripotent stem cells, which can then be utilized in the lab to generate any cell type in the body (even brain cells, which are otherwise very difficult to access and study!).

This induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) approach has proved transformative, especially for researching uncommon disorders caused by single gene mutations. For example, it is now feasible to take a tiny skin sample from a patient who has a mutation that causes a specific brain disorder, ‘reprogram’ these skin cells back into stem cells in the lab, and use them to generate brain cells to examine how the mutation impacts, for example, brain cell function.

Because the patient’s DNA mutation is present in all nucleated cells derived from those stem cells, the brain cells created in the lab will likewise have the mutation of interest. As previously explained, iPS technology works by instructing mature cells to ‘switch on’ the gene expression pathway that establishes stem cell identity, thereby turning back the clock of that cell to when it originally existed.

We may utilize numerous developmental cues or signals to instruct these stem cells to become whatever cell type we choose. So, at least in the lab, a skin cell can be transformed into a brain cell. Because iPS technology is so important now, John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka were awarded Nobel Prizes for their contributions leading to its discovery. It’s revolutionary and really handy!

  • Your completely correct, each cell’s DNA is the same, and thus it is a great question. Basically, the DNA contains distinct regions in it called GENES.

When a particular mix of these GENES is ‘turned on’ or ‘turned off,’ the cells operate somewhat differently, producing more or less of certain substances, causing them to differentiate into distinct kinds of cells.

  • I’m no expert, but as Matthew said, the many genes in our DNA may be turned on and off. The genes provide the instructions for making proteins, so as they are turned on and off, the quantity of protein produced varies.

This causes modifications in the switches of other genes, and the cycle continues indefinitely. It’s very fascinating, since some of these changes begin while we are just a few cells, and if something goes wrong, the repercussions might be catastrophic!

However, your cells were able to undergo so many alterations at precisely the correct moment to develop all of the diverse cells you have today… Isn’t it cool? If you’re really inquisitive, you should learn about epigenetics, which explains how the genes’ switches function.

F.A.Q: how do some cells become brain cells and others become skin cells

How can skin cells become brain cells?

Using a mix of chemicals, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes converted skin cells into heart cells and brain cells in a remarkable advance. All prior studies on cellular reprogramming required the addition of exogenous genes to the cells, making this achievement unparalleled.

Do brain cells and skin cells have the same DNA?

In biology class, we learnt that every cell in the body has the same DNA. Heart cells, skin cells, and muscle cells all read from the same genetic blueprint. Scientists are now discovering that there is more to the tale.

Which biological mechanism directly promotes the formation of new skin cells in humans?

When cells are injured or die, the body regenerates new ones. This is known as cell division. One cell divides into two and doubles in size.

How can cells with identical DNA become distinct?

These cells vary because they use a separate set of genes. Even though each of our cells has the same 20,000 or so genes, each cell may choose which ones to “turn on” and which to remain “shut off.” will answer how do some cells become brain cells and others become skin cells.

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  • if the instructions are exactly the same, how does one cell become a brain cell and a skin cell
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