They call it “LIF.” Why not “PIF?”

Blog entry

I made up a protein: Pluripotency Inducing Factor” so I can have a catchy title.  OK, maybe not a TOTALLY made up protein, but as far as I can tell, no one calls one specific protein by that name. Also, “PPF (pluripotency Promoting Factor) doesn’t rhyme with LIF. But on a slightly more serious note, LIF is so ubiquitous in mouse ES cell labs that one may wonder if it has ever served any other purpose under a  cell culture hood.

This blogger has, in fact, only used it in his ES cell cultures.  It’s one of those molecules that was named for its first discovered function but has shown to be way more far-reaching. I did a bit of digging and I found out some interesting stuff……Actually MOST of it wasn’t all that interesting, but some of the stuff was pretty cool. For example,
1-LIF belongs to the IL-6 family of cytokines and some studies suggest they can both induce the same effect on target cells, even though they’re different proteins.
2- One study suggests that LIF may actually suppress oncogene expression in HPV-infected cervical cancer cells (Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women). Cool news on the battle to beat this awful disease. Here’s the reference if you’re interested: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/idog/2011/463081/
3- This one’s for all you neuroscientists out there: LIF is at least partially involved in the brain’s response to injury, like that seen after epileptic seizures. Mice that don’t have the LIF gene don’t show the same signs of brain response after seizures. Why’s that cool? Well, essentially, LIF helps the brain recover from insult. Pretty cool in my book. Here’s a reference: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~phplab/pubs/16%20Holmberg%2006.pdf
So, as I’ve come to learn, the roles of LIF are numerous and there are likely more that have not been uncovered. So if you’re studying inflammation, be it in the brain, the gut, or any other organ system, you may want to take a minute and see if you have a LIF connection there. Naturally, the good folks at Gemini have your LIF needs covered.  I bet they have plenty of it!