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Researchers dig up new molecular details on ‘the other type’ of stem cells

In a study published in PLOS Genetics, scientists Nareg J. Djabrayan and Jordi Casanova from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and CSIC, have identified two molecular signals and the pathway of events that allows cells in a tissue that are already specialized to regain their behaviour as stem cells. The study offers new information about how cells become differentiated and how “this other type” of stem cells, called facultative, get activated, which is of particular interest in cell reprogramming, regenerative medicine, and in understanding cancer.

Facultative Stem Cells in Drosophila
This image shows nuclei of Drosophila trachea cells during the transition from larvae to an adult fly. The cells in the Tr2 segment are dividing; they are the facultative stem cells.
Credit: N.J. Djabrayan, IRBBarcelona