Understanding what drives cell typing

Understanding what drives cell typing
The transcription factor GATA6 is a DNA-binding protein that opens genes to promote their expression during embryonic development. When GATA6 is absent the genes remain closed and silent. Credit: Cell Reports.

Scientists know that developing cells in a healthy embryo will transform into a variety of cell types that will make up the different organ systems in the human body, a process known as cell differentiation. But they don’t know how the cells do it.

A Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) study in Cell Reports led by Stephen Duncan, D.Phil., examines how an endodermal cell—a type of developing cell—becomes a liver cell and not some other type of cell. Duncan and his team found that the development of naive cells into differentiated liver cells was dependent on the transcription factor GATA6. Duncan is the SmartState Endowed Chair in Regenerative Medicine and chair of the Department of Regenerative Medicine and

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