Author: Ventura C
National Institute of Biostructures and Biosystems (NIBB), Visual Institute of Developmental Sciences (VID), Bologna , Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna , Bologna , Italy
Date published: 2014 Mar 31
Other: Volume ID: 2 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: e839 , Word Count: 281
Compelling evidence recently shows that oscillations and synchronization of multiple oscillators is an essential requisite in living cells. This review discusses the most update and intriguing investigations demonstrating that circadian clocks exist at the subcellular and single cell level. Chromatin remodeling and the orchestration of wide-ranging gene and protein expression profiles are fashioned into rhythmic synchronous oscillatory domains, capable to drive stem cell growth and differentiation, as well as the overall embryo development. The cytoskeleton has been shown to behave as a rhythmically oscillating network, generating radioelectric fields that may translate locally generated events into non-local long-range signaling. Worthy to note, aberrant oscillatory patterns are invariantly associated with various diseases. Consonant with a major role of physical forces in the specification of living process is the possibility to use physical energies to modulate (stem) cell homeostasis. We discuss recent findings showing that proper delivery of radioelectric fields is able to finely tune the expression of multipotency in human adult stem cells and to afford a direct reprogramming of human dermal skin fibroblasts into cardiac-, neuronal- and skeletal muscle-like cells. Electromagnetic energy was also found to efficiently counteract stem cell aging in vitro, restoring the multilineage potential of human stem cells throughout multiple passage in culture. We dissect the role of vibrational/acoustic energy as an inherent property of living cells, discussing the possibility to extract nano-mechanical signatures of stem cell differentiation that can be used to direct stem cell fate. On the whole, these new discoveries prompt a paradigm shift towards a deeper understanding of the interconnections between the physical Universe and the living World in the attempt to further approach the information of life.