Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a protein content that supports the production of new queens in honeybees that retain pluripotent embryonic stem cells, a component active protein component of royal jelly that has been published in Nature Communications. The protein causes cells to remain pluripotent and under conditions that usually cause them to develop into specialized cells, can become any cell in the organism. This finding is likely to heat the debated power of royal jelly regeneration, but more importantly, it shows new paths to pluripotence and suggests new ways of maintaining stem cells in a state of suspension of animation.
The folklore reveres the royal jelly as a form of super medicines, in Europe and Asia, royalactin’s DNA sequence, which is the active component of the jelly, has been uniquely identified to be honeybees. This discovery was found in the course of the question of how an extreme difference between queens and worker bees could be caused by Royal Jelly Diets. The discovery focused Kevin Wang, MD, Ph.D. and fellow workers on royalactin in their use of mouse embryonic stem cells to study cellular responses in order to influence development.
Embryonic stem cells are powerful, but when grown in the laboratory environment, the fickle cells abandon stem cell states and differentiate into specialist cells, the researchers have devised methods for maintaining the cells in line with the environment by adding molecules that inhibit differentiation. The team found that addition of royalactin stopped the differentiation between embryonic stem cells, even without such inhibitors, cultivated free LIF cells grew up with the addition for up to 20 generations. Further studies revealed that royalactine treated stem cells showed profiles for genes similar to inhibitor-crop stem cells, producing proteins known to be associated with the pluripotence of differentiating proteins, responses which were confusing as mammals do not produce royalactin.
The team has looked further into databases which determine the three-dimensional protein structure, because many proteins work in conjunction with other proteins or biological molecules, asking the team whether in mammals there was a protein that imitates the form, but not the royalactin sequence. Mammalian protein from NHLRC3 was found and forecasted to form a royalactin-like structure produced early in all animals in embryonic development. In mouse embryo cells NHLRC3 has been found to be capable of maintaining pluripotence and has caused a similar pattern of gene expression as that exposed to royalactin; NHLRC3 protein has been renamed Regina which is Latin for Queen.
The team will examine if Regina has a therapeutic value for wound treatment or cell regeneration in adult animals and its findings are expected to help researchers find better ways to maintain pluri-powerful embryonic stem cells cultivated in the laboratory. Wang says that his investigations indicate that Regina is an important molecule for pluripotency and progenitor cell production that produces the embryo tissue.