Scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a gene that controls the amazing ability of adult stem cells to self-renew, or make new copies of themselves, throughout life.
In a series of extensive cell culture and animal studies, U-M scientists discovered that a gene called Bmi-1 was required for self-renewal in two types of adult stem cells – neural stem cells from the central nervous system and neural crest stem cells from the peripheral nervous system. In a previous study, other U-M scientists found that Bmi-1 also was necessary for continued self-renewal in a third variety of blood-forming or hematopoietic stem cells.
"So far, we and our colleagues have studied three important types of adult stem cells and Bmi-1 appears to work similarly in every case," says Sean Morrison, Ph.D., an assistant professor of internal medicine in the U-M Medical School and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. "This raises the intriguing possibility that Bmi-1 could be a universal regulator controlling self-renewal in all adult stem cells."
Sally Pobojewski | EurekAlert!
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