Friday, February 18, 2005

140: Controlling marrow growth

Science -- Opferman et al. 307 (5712): 1101:

Apoptosis is important in controlling hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) numbers. However, the specific BCL-2 family member(s) that regulate HSC homeostasis are not precisely defined. We tested myeloid leukemia–1 (MCL-1) as an attractive candidate that is highly expressed in HSCs and regulated by growth factor signals. Inducible deletion of Mcl-1 in mice resulted in ablation of bone marrow. This resulted in the loss of early bone marrow progenitor populations, including HSCs. Moreover, growth factors including stem cell factor increased transcription of the Mcl-1 gene and required MCL-1 to augment survival of purified bone marrow progenitors. Deletion of Mcl-1 in other tissues, including liver, did not impair survival. Thus, MCL-1 is a critical and specific regulator essential for ensuring the homeostasis of early hematopoietic progenitors.

While they didn't test this in humans, they only did this because understanding the functioning of mouse stem cells is key to understanding human leukemia. Why does MCL-1 occur in mice and humans? Why do we think it would work the same way in both? Common descent.

What's the point of this? Apoptosis is controlled cell death. Uncontrolled cell growth has a name: cancer.

Evolution is helping to cure cancer.