Lab characterizes niche control of stem cell function

Jan 11, 2008

The Stowers Institute’s Xie Lab has published findings that begin to characterize the poorly understood interaction among stem cells within their cellular microenvironment, called a niche.

The findings appear in today’s issue of Cell Stem Cell.

The Xie Lab demonstrated that differentiation-defective Drosophila ovarian germline stem cells (GSCs), behaving like human cancer stem cells, can out-compete normal stem cells for a position in the niche. They do so by invading the niche space of neighboring GSCs and gradually pushing them out of the niche by increasing the cellular response to the adhesion molecule E-cadherin.

Furthermore, the team found that mutant GSC competition requires both E-cadherin and normal GSC division, and that different levels of E-cadherin expression can stimulate GSC competition.

“We believe that this stem cell competition mechanism may explain why differentiated stem cells are displaced from the niche,” said Zhigang Jin, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate and co-equal first author on the paper. “We observed that stem cell competition serves as a quality control mechanism to ensure that only undifferentiated stem cells remain in the niche.”

“These findings offer important insights into the tight control of stem cell quality by the niche and how cancer stem cells might invade new niches for self-proliferation,” said Ting Xie, Ph.D., Associate Investigator and senior author on the paper. “Additionally, these findings point to a promising strategy for delivering stem cells to targeted niches for their long-term maintenance and generation of functional cells through augmented stem cell competition.”

Source: Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Explore further: Ringling elephants say goodbye to the circus

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Living in the genetic comfort zone

8 hours ago

The information encoded in the DNA of an organism is not sufficient to determine the expression pattern of genes. This fact has been known even before the discovery of epigenetics, which refers to external ...

'Bright spot' on Ceres has dimmer companion

9 hours ago

Dwarf planet Ceres continues to puzzle scientists as NASA's Dawn spacecraft gets closer to being captured into orbit around the object. The latest images from Dawn, taken nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers) ...

Key facts on US 'open Internet' regulation

9 hours ago

A landmark ruling by the US Federal Communications Commission seeks to enshrine the notion of an "open Internet," or "net neutrality." Here are key points:

Spotify deals with random shuffle and us mortals

9 hours ago

How do we mortals perceive random sequences? An entry in the question-and-answer site Quora focused on a question involving a music-streaming service Spotify. That question signifies how we perceive what ...

Recommended for you

Ringling elephants say goodbye to the circus

4 hours ago

Across America through the decades, children of all ages delighted in the arrival of the circus, with its retinue of clowns, acrobats and, most especially, elephants.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.