Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research shows when stem cell descendants lose their versatility

Date:
January 22, 2011
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
Stem cells are the incomparably versatile progenitors of every cell in our body. Some maintain this remarkable plasticity throughout the life of an animal, prepared to respond as needed to repair an injury, for instance. Others differentiate into specialized cells, regenerating tissue or facilitating some other process before dying. Now new research defines the point at which hair follicle stem cells abandon their trademark versatility, or "stemness," having left their niche to make new hairs. It also shows how these fated stem cell descendants then regulate the activity of their forebears.

Becoming hair. To create a new hair follicle (blue), the body taps stem cells from a reservoir called the niche (green). Researchers have determined at what point stem cells irreversibly become hair follicle cells, and have found that these descendent cells send signals back to the niche that regulate the stem cells' activity.
Credit: Image courtesy of Rockefeller University

Stem cells are the incomparably versatile progenitors of every cell in our body. Some maintain this remarkable plasticity throughout the life of an animal, prepared to respond as needed to repair an injury, for instance. Others differentiate into specialized cells, regenerating tissue or facilitating some other process before dying. Now new research from Rockefeller University defines the point at which hair follicle stem cells abandon their trademark versatility, or "stemness," having left their niche to make new hairs. It also shows how these fated stem cell descendants then regulate the activity of their forebears.

"We and others have been focusing on what mobilizes stem cells to make tissue," says Elaine Fuchs, Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor and head of the Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development. "However, it is just as important for stem cells to know when to stop the process, which is what we've found here."

The researchers, led by Ya-Chieh Hsu, a postdoctoral associate in Fuchs' lab, focused on mouse hair follicles, which undergo cyclical bouts of growth, destruction and rest, a process requiring the activation of stem cells. Stem cells are usually inactive, at rest in their niche, but when activated, they proliferate and leave that niche to make new hairs. In the new research, published last week by Cell, the researchers drilled down on this cycle, defining the point at which activated stem cells become irreversibly committed to becoming the specialized cells needed to grow hair.

Through gene expression analysis and experiments designed to test the cells' function at different stages in the cycle, the researchers show that early stem cell descendents can retain their stemness and return back to their niche when hair growth stops. In fact, even after their proliferating descendants irreversibly lose their stemness, some can still find their way back to the niche, where they continue to serve two primary purposes: they hold the hairs tightly in place to prevent hair loss, and they release inhibitory signals that prevent the stem cells from activating too early.

"This study shows that committed stem cell descendents transmit inhibitory signals back to the stem cells and return them to a dormant state," says Fuchs, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Insititute investigator. "The finding gives us new insights into why our spurts of hair growth are followed by a resting period. For many tissues of the body, such negative feedback loops could provide the necessary signals to prevent tissue overgrowth."

These findings is work represents a new concept in stem cell biology -- that an irreversibly committed cell that is downstream in a stem cell lineage can become an essential regulator of stem cells, the researchers say. In other words, the children tell the parents how to behave. "In many systems, stem cells and their differentiated progeny coexist in close proximity," Hsu says. "The ability of the progeny to regulate stem cell activity could be a general but previously unrecognized phenomenon which enables stem cells to know when to stop making tissue."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ya-Chieh Hsu, H. Amalia Pasolli, Elaine Fuchs. Dynamics between Stem Cells, Niche, and Progeny in the Hair Follicle. Cell, 2011; 144 (1): 92 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.11.049

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "Research shows when stem cell descendants lose their versatility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110122221430.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2011, January 22). Research shows when stem cell descendants lose their versatility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110122221430.htm
Rockefeller University. "Research shows when stem cell descendants lose their versatility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110122221430.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins