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Niche Control Of Stem Cell Function

Date:
January 10, 2008
Source:
Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Summary:
New research begins to characterize the poorly understood interaction among stem cells within their cellular microenvironment, called a niche. The 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.
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FULL STORY

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 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.”

The findings appear in Cell Stem Cell January 10, 2008.  Additional contributing authors from the Stowers Institute include Daniel Kirilly (co-equal first author), formerly a Predoctoral Fellow; Changjiang Weng, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate; Eihachiro Kawase, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate; Xiaoqing Song, Lab Manager; Sarah Smith, Research Technician, and Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Managing Director of Imaging.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Stowers Institute for Medical Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Stowers Institute for Medical Research. "Niche Control Of Stem Cell Function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080110161804.htm>.
Stowers Institute for Medical Research. (2008, January 10). Niche Control Of Stem Cell Function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080110161804.htm
Stowers Institute for Medical Research. "Niche Control Of Stem Cell Function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080110161804.htm (accessed April 27, 2015).

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