How Genome Organization Influences Cell Fate–UC Riverside-Led Study Identifies How Blood Stem Cells Maintain Their Fate; Importance of Histone Chaperone CAF-1

Understanding the molecular mechanisms that specify and maintain the identities of more than 200 cell types of the human body is arguably one of the most fundamental problems in molecular and cellular biology, with critical implications for the treatment of human diseases. Central to the cell fate decision process are stem cells residing within each tissue of the body. When stem cells divide, they have the remarkable ability to choose to self-renew — that is, make a copy of themselves — or mature into defined lineages. How a specific lineage identity is maintained every time a stem cell divides can now be better understood thanks to the work of a team led by biochemists at the University of California, Riverside. The study led by Sihem Cheloufi, PhD, and Jernej Murn, PhD, both Assistant Professors in the Department of Biochemistry at UC-Riverside (UCR), shows how a protein complex, called chromatin assembly factor-1, or CAF-1, controls genome organization to maintain lineage fidelity. The open-access report was published on April 29, 2022 in Nature Communications. The article is titled Regulation of Chromatin Accessibility by the Histone Chaperone CAF-1 Sustains Lineage Fidelity.”

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