From rectal cells to neurons: Keys to understanding transdifferentiation

18 agosto 2014

How can a specialized cell change its identity? A research team investigated a 100% effective natural example of this phenomenon, which is called transdifferentiation. This process, by which some cells lose their characteristics and acquire a new identity, could be more generally involved in tissue or organ regeneration in vertebrates, and is a promising research avenue for regenerative medicine. This study identifies the role of epigenetic factors involved in this conversion, underlines the dynamic nature of the process, and shows the key mechanisms for effective transdifferentiation.