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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health
Stem cells look like green, blue red and yellow dots.

November 13, 2020

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Stem cells look like green, blue red and yellow dots.

On the Cover

NIH scientists showed how ancient retroviral genes, or “junk DNA,” may play a role in helping stem cells decide to become neurons. The image shows stem cells in a petri dish. The blue dots represent cell nuclei. Green dots represent HERV-K, HML-2 viral envelope proteins encoded by junk DNA, while red dots represent the immune cell protein CD98HC. Interactions between the two proteins produced a yellow color. The study suggests that these interactions restrain stem cells from becoming neurons and that turning off HERV-K, HML-2 activity frees them.

Photo: NATH LAB, NINDS

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Associate Editor: Carla Garnett
Carla.Garnett@nih.gov

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov

Dana Talesnik
Dana.Talesnik@nih.gov

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