Adult stem cells are crucial for physiological tissue renewal and regeneration following injury. Current models assume the existence of a single quiescent (resting) population of stem cells residing in a single niche of a given tissue.
The Linheng Li Lab and others have previously reported that primitive blood-forming stem cells can be further separated into quiescent (reserved) and active (primed) sub-populations. Emerging evidence indicates that quiescent and active stem cell sub-populations also co-exist in several tissues — including hair follicle, intestine, bone marrow, and potentially in the neural system — in separate yet adjacent microenvironments. In the review, Dr. Li proposes that quiescent and active stem cell populations have separate but cooperative functional roles.
"Both quiescent and active stem cells co-exist in separate 'zones' in the same tissue," explained Dr. Li. "Active stem cells are the 'primed' sub-population that account for the generation of corresponding tissues, whereas quiescent stem cells function as a 'back-up' or 'reserved' sub-population, which can be activated in response to the loss of active stem cells or to tissue damage."
The new model would explain how the balance can be regulated between stem cell maintenance and simultaneous support of rapid tissue regeneration, not only at the individual cell level but also at the stem cell population level. The advantage of maintaining 'zoned' sub-populations of stem cells is to increase longevity of stem cells within organisms that have long life spans and large bodies.
The existence of two sub-populations of adult stem cells offers another advantage in the rapidly regenerating tissues in mammals by reducing the risk for mutations that cause tumors.
Intriguingly, cancers may utilize this same mechanism to maintain co-existing active-quiescent pools of stem cell sub-populations that support fast tumor growth (by active stem cells) while preserving the root of malignancy (by quiescent stem cells). This may explain the basis of drug resistance to cancer treatment.
"If this hypothesis is true, the critical question will be how to target quiescent drug-resistant cancer stem cells," said Dr. Li. "We will test this model in cancers in an effort to determine how to activate quiescent (drug-resistant) cancer stem cells for further targeting."
Dr. Li also is a Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at The University of Kansas School of Medicine. Learn more about his work at www.stowers.org/labs/LiLab.asp.
Dr. Clevers is also a Professor of Molecular Genetics at the Hubrecht Institute and was the first to report the existence of active stem cells in intestine. Learn more about his work at www.hubrecht.eu/research/clevers.
The Stowers Institute for Medical Research is a non-profit, basic biomedical research organization dedicated to improving human health by studying the fundamental processes of life. Jim Stowers, founder of American Century Investments, and his wife Virginia opened the Institute in 2000. Since then, the Institute has spent over a half billion dollars in pursuit of its mission. Currently the Institute is home to nearly 500 researchers and support personnel; over 20 independent research programs; and more than a dozen technology development and core facilities.
Susan Weigel | EurekAlert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy