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How Niches Impose Asymmetry on Stem Cell Divisions

Science's STKE  16 Sep 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 200, pp. tw366-TW366
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.200.tw366

The Drosophila male germ line serves as a model system for investigating how stem cells are regulated in the context of their normal microenvironment, or niche. Yamashita et al. (see the Perspective by Wallenfang and Matunis) used this system to investigate the intracellular mechanisms that lead to the reliably asymmetric outcome of stem cell divisions to produce a stem cell and a cell that is ready to differentiate further (in this case, a gonialblast). The mitotic spindle in dividing germline stem cells orients with respect to the support-cell niche throughout their cell cycle. This process requires centrosome function and homologs of the human tumor suppressor gene adenomatous polyposis coli (APC).

Y. M. Yamashita, D. L. Jones, M. T. Fuller, Orientation of asymmetric stem cell division by the APC tumor suppressor and centrosome. Science 301, 1547-1550 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]

M. R. Wallenfang, E. Matunis, Orienting stem cells. Science 301, 1490-1491 (2003). [Summary] [Full Text]