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15.08.19 Defining two populations of stem cells in the gastric corpus epithelium

last modified Aug 20, 2019 11:56 AM
Simons, Koo and colleagues define the identity and dynamics of adult gastric isthmus stem cells, which maintain the rapid turnover of the upper part of the corpus gland
15.08.19 Defining two populations of stem cells in the gastric corpus epithelium

Clone of gastric isthmus cells (red) is distinct from stem cells at base of gland (yellow)

Defining the identity and dynamics of adult gastric isthmus stem cells

Han S et al. (2019) Cell Stem Cell 25: 1–15. September 5 (advance online publication 15 August). DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2019.07.008.


Highlights from the paper

  • Marker-free lineage tracing reveals two types of stem cells in the gastric corpus
  • Actively cycling isthmus stem cells follow “punctuated” neutral drift dynamics
  • Stmn1 and Ki67 lineage tracing confirms the active cycling of isthmus stem cells
  • Single-cell RNA-seq defines identity and lineage relationship of isthmus stem cells


Summary from the paper

The gastric corpus epithelium is the thickest part of the gastrointestinal tract and is rapidly turned over. Several markers have been proposed for gastric corpus stem cells in both isthmus and base regions. However, the identity of isthmus stem cells (IsthSCs) and the interaction between distinct stem cell populations is still under debate.

Here, based on unbiased genetic labeling and biophysical modeling, we show that corpus glands are compartmentalized into two independent zones, with slow-cycling stem cells maintaining the base and actively cycling stem cells maintaining the pit-isthmus-neck region through a process of “punctuated” neutral drift dynamics.

Independent lineage tracing based on Stmn1 and Ki67 expression confirmed that rapidly cycling IsthSCs maintain the pit-isthmus-neck region. Finally, single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis is used to define the molecular identity and lineage relationship of a single, cycling, IsthSC population. These observations define the identity and functional behavior of IsthSCs.


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The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

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