In most cases new functional cells are generated from tissue-specific stem cells that are themselves un-specified but can self-renew. As stem cells differentiate into functionally mature cells, this self-renewal capacity is typically lost. Macrophages, a specific cell type of the immune system, represent a rare exception to this pathway, since they can be maintained independently of blood stem cells by local proliferation of mature cells.
We investigate the mechanisms that enable such self-renewal without loss of differentiated function. The manipulation of macrophage self-renewal might be instrumental to stimulate tissue regeneration. In more general terms, insight into the underlying mechanisms could provide new ways for the generation of large numbers of normal cells with defined functionality, as alternative solution to current projected stem cell applications.
Finally, the understanding of the difference of such normal self-renewal mechanisms to tumorigenic transformation is also of critical importance for cancer research.
The Sieweke group is based at thein southern France, and joined the MDC in autumn 2012 as part of the Helmholtz-INSERM Franco-German cooperation initiative. The group is co-funded by the MDC and . For more information about the group and their research, visit the group webpage at the CIML website.