Ting Xie, Ph.D., Associate Investigator, and Zhigang Jin, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Xie Lab, have published results showing that the microRNA pathway is essential for controlling self-renewal of germline stem cells and somatic stem cells in the Drosophila ovary.

The paper, "Dcr-1 Maintains Drosophila Ovarian Stem Cells," is published on the Web site of Current Biology.

MicroRNAs are single-stranded small RNA molecules believed to regulate the expression of other genes. The Xie Lab's findings show that the microRNA pathway is essential for controlling self-renewal of two types of stem cells in the Drosophila ovary.

"The findings were interesting to us because they demonstrated that the microRNA pathway is essential for controlling self-renewal or maintenance of two types of stem cells - germline stem cells and somatic stem cells," said Dr. Jin. "In the future, the small RNAs responsible for stem cell regulation could potentially be used to control stem cell functions in vivo and stem cell expansion in vitro."

"We are in the process of identifying the microRNAs that are important for stem cell self-renewal," said Dr. Xie. "Understanding the mechanisms controlling stem cell self-renewal will be crucial to our developing the ability to expand stem cell populations for performing tissue repair."

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Dr. Xie holds a faculty appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology at The University of Kansas School of Medicine.

About the Stowers Institute

Housed in a 600,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility on a 10-acre campus in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research conducts basic research on fundamental processes of cellular life. Through its commitment to collaborative research and the use of cutting-edge technology, the Institute seeks more effective means of preventing and curing disease. The Institute was founded by Jim and Virginia Stowers, two cancer survivors who have created combined endowments of $2 billion in support of basic research of the highest quality.

Contact: Marie Jennings
Stowers Institute for Medical Research

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