Skin cells and proteins dating online
He hopes that the skinbow fish can be used to reveal more about how tissue regeneration occurs – a process that is still mysterious, he says.
Christine Pullar, who studies wound healing at the University of Leicester, UK, agrees.
This allowed the team to work out that the entire population of the fish’s skin cells turns over every 20 days or so, and that each cell spends about eight days on the surface of the skin before it wears off.
The team also watched how the fish’s skin responds to injury.
Each cell could have one of about 5000 possible colour combinations, although the resolution of Poss’s microscope only lets him distinguish 70 different colours among the cells.
“This approach lets us image cell dynamics in a live animal,” says Poss.
A study led by ICREA researcher Salvador Aznar Benitah and undertaken at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has identified two proteins that are fundamental to conserve skin stem cells and has shown that without these proteins these cells are lost.
The study, which has been published today in Cell Stem Cell, has involved Luciano Di Croce's group at the Center for Genomic Regulation (acronym in Spanish CRG).
Whether each gene creates a red, green or blue protein is entirely random, he says.
“One cell might have 80 red, 10 green and 10 blue proteins, for example,” says Poss.By methylating the superenhancer, these proteins trigger the first step of the machinery that leads to the amplified expression of these essential genes for the stem cell.