(Sara Hussein/ Agence France-Presse) — Beauty might only be skin deep, but for those wondering how to keep that skin young, scientists may have found an answer in the form of a protein that encourages cell competition.
The prosaically named COL17A1 might not sound like a fountain of youth, but the new study suggests it does the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping skin intact and unimpaired.
The protein works by encouraging cell competition, a key process to maintain tissue fitness. That effectively “drives out” weaker cells while encouraging replication of stronger ones.
“Damaged or stressed stem cells can be selectively eliminated by intact stem cells every day in our skin,” said Emi Nishimura, a professor at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University’s Stem Cell Biology department, who led the research. (…)