Master Regulatory Gene of Epithelial Stem Cells Identified by Harvard Medical School  
5/4/2007 2:45:57 AM

Boston-May 3, 2007- The skin’s ability to replace the tissue it sloughs off is controlled by a variety of genes. However, a new study from Harvard Medical School published in the May 4 issue of Cell, identifies a “master regulator” of this regeneration process not only for skin, but for many epithelial tissues including breast, prostate, and urogenital tract. This master regulator of epithelial stem cells turns out to be the p63 gene, a close relative to the well-known tumor-suppressing p53 gene. Without p63, mutant mice run out of the regenerative epithelial stem cells. The findings also have implications for cancers of the skin, breast and prostate, which are among the most common human malignancies.

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