PerspectiveSTEM CELLS

Beyond the genome: RNA control of stem cells

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Science  08 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6466, pp. 684-685
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz4859

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Summary

Tissue-resident stem cells are important for maintaining proper organ and tissue function throughout the lifetime of mammals. Although some types of stem cells constantly proliferate and give rise to committed progeny, such as intestine and skin, others reside mainly in a quiescent (noncycling) state, such as skeletal muscle. How stem cells maintain their quiescence while contributing to homeostatic tissue turnover is not well understood and is an active topic of investigation because of the potential of stem cell biology in regenerative medicine and healthy aging (1). On page 734 of this issue, de Morree et al. (2) characterize the underlying mechanisms that control muscle stem cell (MuSC) behavior in mice. Unexpectedly, they show that multiple species of RNAs coordinately confer precise regulation of quiescence and proliferation in MuSCs under homeostatic conditions.

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