Achieving asymmetry in the brain

December 14, 2006

In order to survive, stem cells must maintain a delicate balance between self-renewal and differentiation. Two independent papers in the December 15th issue of G&D lend new insight into how neural stem cells achieve this balance. Working with fruit flies, Drs. William Chia, Hongyan Wang (Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory,National University of Singapore) and Chris Doe (HHMI, University of Oregon) and colleagues demonstrate that the mitotic kinase, Aurora-A, suppresses neuroblast self-renewal and promotes neuroblast differentiation. Altered expression of mammalian Aurora-A contributes to several forms of cancer, so the elucidation of the mechanism by which Aurora-A loss leads to brain tumors in flies may provide new clues to the molecular basis for Aurora-A involvement in human cancers.
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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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