Never mind facial masks and exfoliating scrubs, skin takes care of itself. Stem cells located within the skin actively generate differentiating cells that can ultimately form either the body surface or the hairs that emanate from it. In addition, these stem cells are able to replenish themselves, continually rejuvenating skin and hair. Now, researchers at Rockefeller University have identified two proteins that enable these skin stem cells to undertake this continuous process of self-renewal.
The work, published in Nature Genetics, brings new details to the understanding of how stem cells maintain — and lose — their status as stem cells
Stem cells switch off and on, sometimes dividing to produce progeny cells and sometimes resting. But scientists don’t fully understand what causes the cells to toggle between active and quiet states (…)
New research in Elaine Fuchs’ Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development focused on stem cells in the hair follicle to determine what switches them on. The researchers found cells produced by the stem cells, progeny known at Transit-Amplifying Cells or TACs, emit a signal that tells quiet hair follicle stem cells to become active.
“Many types of mammalian stem cells produce TACs, which act as an intermediate between
Your hair may seem unwilling to cooperate some mornings, but at the root of each strand is a tiny partnership of stem cells that work very well together to make hair happen. New research from The Rockefeller University has elucidated how these adult stem cells communicate with each other to make hair grow and give it pigment.
“Deciphering the mechanisms behind stem cell differentiation advances our understanding of how adult stem cells can be used to maintain tissue integrity and heal wounds,” says Chiung-Ying Chang, a graduate student in the Laboratory of Elaine Fuchs, Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor