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Volume 564 Issue 7734, 6 December 2018

Cellular ushers

In vertebrates, haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) act as the source for all of the blood cells needed over an organism’s lifespan. HSPCs emerge from endothelial cells in the dorsal aorta of developing embryos and then migrate to dedicated niches where they are stored ready to generate blood cells. In this week’s issue, Weijun Pan and colleagues shed light on the mechanism by which HSPCs are shuttled to their destination. Working with zebrafish embryos, the researchers found that macrophage-like cells act as ushers, guiding the HSPCs to their destination and helping to retain them in their niche microenvironments.

Credit: Pablo Bou Mira /Alamy

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