Postnatal stem cells need the MII1 gene switched on if they are to form neurons, a Nature paper reveals. Understanding the mechanisms that guide stem cells to become one cell type or another is important if the cells are to be used therapeutically.
Gene expression is regulated, at least in part, by the structure of chromatin ? the complex of nucleotides and protein that make up chromosomes. It's known that MII1 influences chromatin structure, and Arturo Alvarez-Buylla and colleagues now show that MII1 is essential for neural stem cells to form neurons, but not the supportive, non-neuronal glial cells found in the postnatal brain.
Arturo Alvarez-Buylla (University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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