Towards a road map of stem cell metabolism and epigenetics

Earlier this year I published work completed with Dr Vittorio Sartorelli at the National Institutes of Health, linking a change in metabolism to a change in identity in muscle stem cells (see Ryall et al. 2015 for details). Since that publication, several more studies have been published that further solidify the link between the metabolic status of stem cells to their epigenetic signature, particularly recent work by Craig Thompson’s group (see Carey et al. 2015) and Yaakov Nahmias’ group (see Moussaieff et al. 2015). Because of the exploding interest in metabolism and the epigenetic regulation of stem cells, Vittorio and I put together (with the help of Mr Tim Cliff and Prof Stephen Dalton) an extensive review on how metabolism, and specific metabolites, can directly influence gene expression in stem cells. As a change in environment often precedes a change in cell state, it is essential to investigate the metabolic status of cells when thinking about epigenetic changes and cell fate. With the increasing use of novel techniques such as the Seahorse XF bioanalyzer and metabolomics, I’m excited about the future of stem cell metabolism and being a part of the development of a “roadmap” of stem cell metabolism and epigenetics.Figure 3_new2

Refers to (free full text): Ryall JG, Cliff T, Dalton S & Sartorelli V (2015). Metabolic reprogramming of stem cell epigenetics. Cell Stem Cell 17, 651-662.


3 thoughts on “Towards a road map of stem cell metabolism and epigenetics

  1. Bart

    Hi James,

    Thank you for your inspringing website! I was wondering if you had any experience with using seahorse XF analyzer for analysing C2C12 myotubes? Did you use the same seeding density and differentiate the cells in the 96-well seahorse plate for 7 days?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Bart,

      Glad you like the website.

      We almost never use tubes for analysis, as they are a pain (and in most cases, I’m more interested in the proliferating cell population). For the 96 well plate, you’ll need to figure out a seeding density that results in ~90-95% confluence cells after 24hrs, and then you can start differentiating. You may also want to precoat your plate with Cell-Tak


      1. Bart

        Thank you James,

        It is indeed tricky to find a seeding density. I have a already experienced that the cells let loose from the bottom after 5 days of differentiation and after your tip for Cell-tak, I am seriously considering coating the wells.

        Hope you will keep up the site ;)!

        All the best,

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