Formerly known as European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences
Our inspiring educational experiences share the scientific discoveries of EMBL with young learners aged 10-19 years and teachers in Europe and beyond. We belong to EMBL’s Science Education and Public Engagement office.
From A like “Accession number” to Z like “Zinc finger nuclease”, the ELLS glossary contains definitions of a growing number of terms related to biological terms and research in the life sciences.
The bone marrow is a stem cell niche for haematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells, which have the ability to form bone (as well as cartilage and fat).
This encompasses long-distance signalling between organs and is mediated by hormones which travel in the bloodstream.
This is the situation where a balance is reached between an organism’s or cell’s internal and external environments.
A small protein molecule which organs use to communicate with each other and to control the body’s response to an internal or external requirement. An example is the hormone insulin, which regulates the blood glucose level. It can even regulate erythropoietin, which is involved in controlling the oxygenation levels of blood by red blood cells.
This refers to the communication between cells that are direct neighbours. It usually occurs via specific proteins of the two cells.
This is communication occurring between neighbouring cells. It can be through secreted chemicals or proteins.
This refers to the process of rebuilding damaged or old tissue by the production of new specialised cells from stem cells.
The ability of a stem cell to divide and produce another stem cell.
This can be a protein or chemical which can be used for communication between cells or organs in short-range or long-range interactions. An example for signalling molecules are hormones.
A cell which can self renew and differentiate to give rise to specialised cell types.
This is the process through which a stem cell gives rise to specialised daughter cells.
The specific environment where stem cells reside.
This describes the range of cell types a given stem cell can form. A newly fertilised egg cell is totipotent as it can form a whole embryo, including the placenta. Embryonic stem cells or haematopoietic stem cells are called multipotent because they can respectively form an embryo and all blood cells. Multipotent stem cells have a more restricted lineage potential, they include intermediate progenitor cells between haematopoietic stem cells and their specialised daughter cells.
Topic area: Resource collections
Age group: 16-19
Author: ELLS Team