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Study reveals stem cells in a human parasite
Date:2/25/2013

The researchers went deeper, determining which genes were turned on or off, up or down in the proliferating cells as compared with the non-dividing cells. They identified a gene in the proliferating cells that coded for a growth factor receptor very similar to one found in planarians. When the researchers switched off the parasite's ability to make use of this gene (using a technique called RNA interference in worms grown in the lab), the proliferating cells gradually died out.

"We postulated that these cells are important for the longevity of the parasite," Collins said. "Now we can start asking which genes regulate these cells."

"We started with the big question: How does a simple parasite survive in a host for decades?" Newmark said. "That implies that it has ways of repairing and maintaining its tissues. This study gives us insight into the really interesting biology of these parasites, and it may also open up new doors for making that life cycle a lot shorter."


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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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