The scientists have found that "ever-young" gene Nanog can cause adult cells to switch back to an embryonic state. The finding, published in the prestigious journal Nature, is the first to show that a specific gene affects the reprogramming of a mature cell type into a naïve state. The Edinburgh team believe this is a promising step towards understanding how to promote regeneration of damaged tissues and organs using a person's own cells.
The Edinburgh scientists fused mouse embryonic stem cells with brain stem cells, a type of adult stem cell. They found that the addition of Nanog resulted in a massive increase in the numbers of hybrid cells, all of which behaved like embryonic stem cells. Most importantly the hybrid cells showed the capacity to make many different cell types, such as heart and gut. "This means that the genetic programme of the brain cells has been erased and replaced by the unspecialised programme of an early embryo cells.
The Nanog gene has a great potential to reprogramme the cells, even when in the adult cells the Nanog gene was overexpressed then the cells move back to embryonic stem cells. But it is also said that Nanog is not functional alone but there are some other gene are also involved that work in a synergistically in these process, and researcher are now in effort to find out those genes and their role.