Back to sleep: How SETD1A takes blood stem cells to rest

In old age, humans increasingly suffer from infections. Blood stem cells that are usually inactive are activated in order to produce as many blood and immune cells as needed to fight the infection. But every cell division entails the risk of accumulating DNA damages. Damaged cells are usually detected and eliminated, but if all stem cells are gone, there will be no cells to defend the body during the next infection. Researchers from Leibniz Institute on Aging (FLI) in Jena have identified a central mechanism related to SETD1A enzyme, which is responsible for detecting and repairing DNA damages in blood stem cells and, hence, is crucial for blood stem cells go back to sleep after infections. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)