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Image of the Day: Life and Death

When hair follicle stem cells lose their protein-based death cue, they take on a new role helping to repair wounds in skin.

Mar 22, 2019
Carolyn Wilke

ABOVE: Proliferating cells (red) and hair follicle stem cells (green) from a mouse’s tail
YARON FUCHS & SAMARA BROWN. ADOPTED FROM YOSEFZON ET AL., 2018 MOLECULAR CELL

Yaron Fuchs of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology investigates what leads stem cells down the path to apoptosis, one type of programmed cell death. To get at the roots of cellular suicide in these self-renewing cells, Fuchs is examining the phenomenon’s associated proteins in hair follicles, a model cell population, in mice. 

His lab has found that in mice missing a gene for a particular apoptosis-promoting protein, hair follicle stem cells proliferate and take on a new role helping to regenerate skin and repair skin wounds. The work suggests that unleashing proteins that bring on or hinder apoptosis in stem cells could lead to new treatments for wounds, according to an essay by Fuchs published on March 8 in Science.

Fuchs is the winner of the Sartorius & Science Prize for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced March 7.

Y. Fuchs, “The therapeutic promise of apoptosis,” Science, doi:10.1126/science.aaw3607, 2019.

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