Wound, heal thyself

Naik S. Nature Medicine. 24, 1311–1312 (2018)

An in vivo cellular reprogramming strategy to generate epithelial cells from wound mesenchymal cells promotes healing and provides a new avenue for the treatment of nonhealing wounds.

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The healing power of painful memories

Naik, S. The healing power of painful memories. Science 359(6380): 1113 March 2018

Our body’s epithelia are barriers that interface with the terrestrial environment and routinely experience inflammation. Although a vast majority of these inflammatory reactions resolve, they imprint the tissue with a memory. Cells of the immune system are traditionally thought to be the bearers of this memory, allowing them to react faster to subsequent inflammatory pressures (1, 2). Yet, barrier tissues are composites of epithelial, mesenchymal, nervous, vascular, and immunological networks working in unison to sustain optimal function in health and disease. The question of whether tissue-resident cells, distinct from the immune system, are entrained in response to a perturbation remains to be addressed.

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Inflammatory memory sensitizes skin epithelial stem cells to tissue damage.

Naik S*, Larsen SB*, Gomez N, Alaverdyan K, Sendoel A, Polak L, Kulukian A, Chai S and Fuchs E. Inflammatory memory sensitizes skin epithelial stem cells to tissue damage. *Equal author contribution. Corresponding author. Nature. 550(7677): 475-480 Oct 2017

Here we report that acute inflammation trains epithelial stem cells to respond faster to subsequent stressors. This work is the first to identify inflammatory memory in a non-immune cells and has significant implications for our understanding of inflammatory diseases and cancer.

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Tregs Expand the Skin Stem Cell Niche.

Horsley V and Naik S. Tregs Expand the Skin Stem Cell Niche. Developmental Cell. 41(5):455-456 June, 2017

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are emerging as an essential stem cell niche component that promotes wound repair in adipose, muscle, and lung tissues. Recently in Cell, Ali et al. (2017) report that skin resident Tregs facilitate the proliferation and differentiation of hair follicle stem cells through Notch signaling.

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Translation from Unconventional 5’ Start Sites Drives Tumor Initiation

Sendoel A, Dunn J, Gonzales E, Naik S, Gomez N, Hurwitz B, Levorse J, Dill BD, Schramek S, Molina H, Weissman J and Fuchs E. Translation from Unconventional 5’ Start Sites Drives Tumor Initiation. Nature. 541(7638):494-499 Jan, 2017

We are just beginning to understand how translational control affects tumour initiation and malignancy. Here we use an epidermis-specific, in vivo ribosome profiling strategy to investigate the translational landscape during the transition from normal homeostasis to malignancy.

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