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Genes For 'STEMNESS'

  January, 20 2003 9:47
your information resource in human molecular genetics
The production of blood cells is sustained throughout our lives by haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). This week in a Nature paper published online, Stuart Orkin of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and colleagues report that the gene SCL/tal-1is essential for the generation of HSCs, but surprisingly its continued expression is not essential for HSC functions. In its absence, HSCs neither die nor lose their identity or 'stemness'.

"The apparent stability of the HSC phenotype in the absence of SCL/tal-1 may reflect complex epigenetic regulatory circuits established in a context-dependent manner during embryogenesis," the researchers conclude. The results now distinguish two classes of haematopoietic stem cell transcription factors: those required for the generation of HSCs, and those required for later HSC properties such as long-term repopulating activity and multipotency.

Author contact:

Stuart Orkin
Dept of Pediatric Oncology
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA, USA
Tel: +1 617 632 3564
E-mail stuart_orkin@dfci.harvard.edu

Article available online.

(C) Nature press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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