Why Stem Cells Are Unfair to Their Children - Facts So Romantic

Why Stem Cells Are Unfair to Their Children - Facts So Romantic

A dividing neural stem cell asymmetrically segregates some cargoes between the two resulting daughter cells—blue shows DNA, red shows cellular cargo.Darcie Moore

Darcie Moore is an expert on cargo. Not the kind you’d find on a freight train, though—it’s the cargo you’d find in stem cells, the kind that can transform into the different types of cells your body needs in your brain, skin, hair follicles, and lots of other places. They’re especially critical when we’re developing at an early age, but adults have them, too.

As stem cells grow and replicate, they can accumulate misfolded proteins and other gunk—“cargo”—that harms their function by, in Moore’s words, “exhausting” them. Nautilus caught up with Moore, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to talk about how she investigates stem cell exhaustion and how it contributes to the puzzle of aging.

What do stem cells have to do with aging?

The theory is that during aging, your stem cells begin to dysfunction. For example, you begin to lose the ability to make pigment in your hair with aging due to melanocyte stem cells becoming depleted. Some of the concepts that apply to stem cell aging have been initially studied quite a bit in yeast, including the…
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