Hitoshi Takizawa, PhD | Kumamoto University; Paola Betancur, PhD | University of California San Francisco; Roland Huber, PhD | Bioinformatics Institute, A*STAR
Competition Sponsor: Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development
Awardee Year: 2020
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are lifelong blood-forming stem cells that give rise to all blood and immune cells. Hematopoietic ageing results in decreased immune surveillance and in turn, increased incidence of infection and cancer in the elderly. Recent studies demonstrated that young HSCs can acquire epigenetic (inherited) and/or metabolic programs as “inheritable memory” and propagate it to their-derived myeloid cells, innate immune cells at the front line of host defense against diseases, to show better response to subsequent insults. Thus, we hypothesize that immuno-potent programs can be imprinted in aged HSCs by stimulation with microorganism-derived agents, and in turn, this imprinting will be inherited by their myeloid derivatives improving their immunocompetence against infections or cancer in the elderly. Knowledge generated in this study will help to develop a novel vaccination strategy that can curve the infection history in long-lived stem cells and ensure host immune protection.
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