Researchers at UC, San Francisco discovered that membrane proteins that form cell to cell connections also have an important role in controlling how neurons migrate in the brain. Understanding neuronal migration is a critical aspect of cell therapy in the nervous system, as replacement cells will need to be directed to their appropriate site of action. This research project is also an example of how funding work in one field moves along work in another.

Researchers at UC, San Francisco found that proteins involved in the generation of neurons early in development also help neural stem cells produce neurons after birth. Furthermore, the researchers identified a self-repair mechanism in the brain that relies on these neural stem cells. Understanding how endogenous neural stem cells repair and remodel a mature brain is critical to successful stem cell therapy.

Cell: December 15, 2006