Researchers at UC, San Francisco discovered that membrane proteins that form cell to cell connections also have an important role in controlling how neurons migrate in the brain. Understanding neuronal migration is a critical aspect of cell therapy in the nervous system, as replacement cells will need to be directed to their appropriate site of action. This research project is also an example of how funding work in one field moves along work in another. The membrane proteins highlighted in this report had previously been identified in some cancers, and these new observations in neurons provide rationale for targeting them in cancer therapy.
Researchers at UC, San Francisco identified a group of genes that are active in embryonic stem cells but not in more differentiated cells. They also developed a technique to find DNA regions that could be important for activating these genes, and identified a factor that directs the production of proteins from genes that contain these regulatory DNA regions. These studies will greatly inform research efforts that rely on maintaining a stem cell’s ability to proliferate and to generate the many different cell types in a human body.
Related Information: UCSF Institute for Regeneration Medicine