Regulation of self-renewal and differentiation by the intestinal stem cell niche

Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Center for Clinical Sciences Research 1155, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS (Impact Factor: 5.81). 04/2011; 68(15):2513-23. DOI: 10.1007/s00018-011-0687-5
Source: PubMed


The gastrointestinal epithelium is a highly organised tissue that is constantly being renewed. In order to maintain homeostasis, the balance between intestinal stem cell (ISC) self-renewal and differentiation must be carefully regulated. In this review, we describe how the intestinal stem cell niche provides a unique environment to regulate self-renewal and differentiation of ISCs. It has traditionally been believed that the mesenchymal myofibroblasts play an important role in the crosstalk between ISCs and the niche. However, recent evidence in Drosophila and in vertebrates suggests that epithelial cells also contribute to the niche. We discuss the multiple signalling pathways that are utilised to regulate stemness within the niche, including members of the Wnt, BMP and Hedgehog pathways, and how aberrations in these signals lead to disruption of the normal crypt-villus axis. Finally, we also discuss how CDX1 and inhibition of the Notch pathway are important in specifying enterocyte and goblet cell differentiation respectively.

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    • "division of ISC also require signals and interactions emanating from the underlying mesenchyme (Yeung et al., 2011). It would be interesting to know whether Integrins play a similar role in controlling ISC division in vertebrates. "
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    ABSTRACT: The digestive tract is subjected to many aggressions throughout animal life. Since disruptions of gut physiology impact on animal fitness and survival, maintenance of gut integrity and functionality is essential for the individual. Over the last 40 years, research on rodents has aimed at understanding how cellular homeostasis of the digestive tract is maintained when challenged with disruptions. Following the discovery of stem cells in the digestive tract of Drosophila, a flurry of studies made an important contribution to our understanding of how the proliferation and the differentiation of these cells are controlled and participate in the renewal of the digestive tract. Insights into these mechanisms in Drosophila have revealed many similarities with mammalian intestinal stem cells. For instance, the highly conserved EGFR, JAK/STAT, Wingless/Wnt, Hedgehog, Integrins, BMP/TGFβ, Hippo and Insulin pathways all participate in adult intestinal cellular homeostasis. Here, we provide a literature review of recent advances in the field highlighting the adult Drosophila midgut as a convenient model for dissecting mechanisms involved in the maintenance of the cellular homeostasis of the digestive tract in conventionally reared conditions. In addition, we shed light on recently published data putting Drosophila forward as a genetic tool to decipher the mechanisms underlying intestinal diseases and intestinal tumour progression.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Histology and histopathology
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    • "Whereas determinants of lineage specification in several somatic stem cell lineages of vertebrate model systems have been identified (Beck and Blanpain, 2012; Rock and Hogan, 2011; Yeung et al., 2011), little is known about how tissue needs are monitored and information about specific missing cell types is relayed to stem cells. The Drosophila posterior midgut has emerged as a powerful genetically tractable system for the characterization of stem cell function and the control of epithelial homeostasis, serving as an ideal model for the identification of such signaling interactions (Biteau et al., 2011; Casali and Batlle, 2009; Jiang and Edgar, 2012; Wang and Hou, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: In order to maintain tissue homeostasis, cell fate decisions within stem cell lineages have to respond to the needs of the tissue. This coordination of lineage choices with regenerative demand remains poorly characterized. Here, we identify a signal from enteroendocrine cells (EEs) that controls lineage specification in the Drosophila intestine. We find that EEs secrete Slit, a ligand for the Robo2 receptor in intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that limits ISC commitment to the endocrine lineage, establishing negative feedback control of EE regeneration. Furthermore, we show that this lineage decision is made within ISCs and requires induction of the transcription factor Prospero in ISCs. Our work identifies a function for the conserved Slit/Robo pathway in the regulation of adult stem cells, establishing negative feedback control of ISC lineage specification as a critical strategy to preserve tissue homeostasis. Our results further amend the current understanding of cell fate commitment within the Drosophila ISC lineage.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Cell Reports
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    • "Recently, Sato et al. reported that Paneth cells constitute the niche for Lgr5+ stem cells [13]. Taken together, it is indicated that multiple types of cells work as niche cells to support small intestinal stem cells [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The microcolony assay developed by Withers and Elkind has been a gold standard to assess the surviving fraction of small intestinal stem cells after exposure to high (≥8 Gy) doses of ionizing radiation (IR), but is not applicable in cases of exposure to lower doses. Here, we developed a novel in vitro assay that enables assessment of the surviving fraction of small intestinal stem cells after exposure to lower IR doses. The assay includes in vitro culture of small intestinal stem cells, which allows the stem cells to develop into epithelial organoids containing all four differentiated cell types of the small intestine. We used Lgr5-EGFP-IRES-CreERT2/ROSA26-tdTomato mice to identify Lgr5+ stem cells and their progeny. Enzymatically dissociated single crypt cells from the duodenum and jejunum of mice were irradiated with 7.25, 29, 101, 304, 1000, 2000 and 4000 mGy of X-rays immediately after plating, and the number of organoids was counted on Day 12. Organoid-forming efficiency of irradiated cells relative to that of unirradiated controls was defined as the surviving fraction of stem cells. We observed a significant decrease in the surviving fraction of stem cells at ≥1000 mGy. Moreover, fluorescence-activated cell sorting analyses and passage of the organoids revealed that proliferation of stem cells surviving IR is significantly potentiated. Together, the present study demonstrates that the in vitro assay is useful for quantitatively assessing the surviving fraction of small intestinal stem cells after exposure to lower doses of IR as compared with previous examinations using the microcolony assay.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Journal of Radiation Research
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