Weekly reads: stem cells vs. viruses, prostate cancer, apoptotic cell niche function, more

The paper of the week is An isoform of Dicer protects mammalian stem cells against multiple RNA viruses published in Science. The take-home from the abstract is that the data, “demonstrate that mammalian stem cells can protect themselves from some RNA viruses by expressing an alternatively spliced isoform of the enzyme Dicer called aviD, which potentiates antiviral RNA interference.”

It’s easy to see why protecting stem cells from viruses is so important. Since they populate and repair tissues, if they are virally-infected or killed, it can have magnified impact on health. This reminds me a bit of CRISPR-Cas systems used by bacteria to fend off viral infections.

Morinaga et al Nature 2021 Stem cells and hair loss
Stem cells, obesity, and hair loss. Fig. 1d. Left, representative whole-mount images and hair follicle numbers of 6-month-old mice (after 4-month feeding with ND or HFD) with monthly hair depilation or of 22-month-old mice. Arrows, follicles without a detectable HFSC-containing bulge. Scale bar, 60 μm. Right, quantification (n = 5; two-tailed unpaired t-test). Morinaga et al Nature 2021.

More great papers on stem cells and cancer

Prostate Development and Cancer

Both of these papers have implications for prostate cancer in different ways, including for treatment. You can read more about my own experience with prostate cancer.

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