Editors' ChoiceDevelopment

Niche Metamorphosis

Science Signaling  12 Jan 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 104, pp. ec15
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3104ec15

The gut epithelium is continually renewed by cells generated from intestinal stem cells. In the fruit fly Drosophila, cells of the adult gut are derived from cells set aside before metamorphosis. Mathur et al. now show that an early asymmetric cell division in larval stages establishes a niche that encloses a proliferating group of undifferentiated stem cells. At metamorphosis, the niche breaks down and the stem cells are freed. Most of them differentiate into adult gut progenitors, but a minority takes on the task of establishing a new, adult, stem cell niche with more liberal operating rules.

D. Mathur, A. Bost, I. Driver, B. Ohlstein, A transient niche regulates the specification of Drosophila intestinal stem cells. Science 327, 210–213 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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