Research Redefines Proteins’ Role in the Development of Spinal Sensory Cells
A recent study led by Samantha Butler at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA has overturned a common belief about how a certain class of proteins in the spinal cord regulate the formation of nervous system cells—called neurons—during embryonic development. These findings could one day inform the creation of stem cell-based therapies that restore the sense of touch in paralyzed patients.
Bone morphogenetic proteins—also known as BMPs—play a key role in human development. These proteins, known as growth factors, are signals that stimulate cellular functions such as growth, proliferation, healing and differentiation. In the developing human spinal cord, BMPs are required for the formation of neurons.
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