In a study conducted using Drosophila fruit flies, researchers from the University of Plymouth discovered that neural stem cells (NSCs) use molecules that form a complex called striatin-interacting phosphatase and kinase (STRIPAK) to stimulate and generate new neurons and glial cells in the brain. STRIPAK is found in organisms from fungi to humans, and the team uncovered it when comparing the genetic messages of dormant and reactivated NSCs in live fly brains.
The research then showed that STRIPAK components act as a switch to turn off dormancy (or quiescence) and turn on reactivation.
“This study reveals that STRIPAK molecules are essential to enable reactivation in NSCs, and we are very pleased with the outcomes,” said Dr. Claudia Barros from the Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine. “But we are only at the beginning. We are working to expand our findings and bring us closer to the day when human neural stem cells can be controlled and efficiently used to facilitate brain damage repair, or even prevent brain cancer growth that is fueled by stem-like cells.”