• UCLA scientists show that two genes not previously known to be involved with the immune system play an active role in directing stem cells to fight infection
  • The two genes, Yorkie and Scalloped, act as a switch to tell progenitor stem cells to become a specific type of cell that aids the immune system fight infection
  • When progenitor stem cells do not receive these signals, the wrong type of cell is made, causing susceptibility to infection
  • Discovery can foster a better understanding of stem cell signaling and the immune system response, and pave the way for new and more effective therapies

In a study led by Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research member Dr. Julian Martinez-Agosto, UCLA scientists have shown that two genes not previously known to be involved with the immune system play a crucial role in how progenitor stem cells are activated to fight infection. This discovery lays the groundwork for a better understanding of the role progenitor cells can play in immune system response and could lead to the development of more effective therapies for a wide range of diseases.

The two-year study was published online October 30, 2014 ahead of print in the journal Current Biology.

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