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Supporting Development

Role of a cell surface enzyme TMEM2 in neural crest cell development

07 October 2022

Supporting Development

Like students graduating into the wide world, cells in an embryo sprout from a single collection, called the neural crest, and adventure on as bold early elements of various body structures. Mishaps can cause significant physical abnormalities, so researchers are examining the role of hyaluronan, a key component in the extracellular matrix, which provides support for much of the process. Previous studies of enzymes known to regulate its presence haven’t pinpointed its role. A new approach examined another enzyme, TMEM2 (green in the mouse embryo pictured), which acts on the surface of cells to break down hyaluronan (red, present where TMEM2 levels are low). Like a great teacher, TMEM2 was essential for breaking down barriers and creating an environment conducive to successful cell migration and thriving. Identifying the key regulators and actors of the process might help clear the way for cells, and ultimately people, to fulfil their potential.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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