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Neural Stem Cells: A Functional Definition Based on Proteomics

Neural stem cells can be isolated from the adult mammalian brain throughout the entire lifetime of an organism, including humans. Unfortunately, no unique molecular marker could be identified expressed by all types of neural stem and progenitor cells in every developmental stage. Genomic and proteomic screening approaches suggest a functional definition of adult stem cells by their molecular inventory. These include (i) the responsiveness to growth factors, (ii) the reuse of developmental signaling cascades in adult progenitors, (iii) the interaction with molecules of the extracellular matrix, (iv) the expression of genes regulating transcription and translation, (v) mechanisms for controlling cell number, and (vi) the protection against cellular stress, such as hypoxia, or DNA damage.

Author(s): Martin H. Maurer

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