Self-Renewalof Stem Cells

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Abstract


Asymmetric division is one of the most fundamental characteristics of adult stem cells , which ensures one daughter cell maintains stem cell status and the other daughter cell becomes committed to differentiation. New data emerged recently that allow us to conclude that asymmetric division has another important aspect: it enables self-maintenance of stem cells.

The central aspect of stem cell biology is asymmetric division. Earlier it was suggested that with the help of asymmetric division two problems could be solved at the same time: one daughter cell preserves the qualities of the stem cell and continues to self- renew, whereas the other acquires the ability to differentiate [1. 2, 3, 4]. Stem cell niches create an asymmetric microenvironment and control local processes of proliferation and differentiation of stem cells through the integration of signals from neighbor cells, from the organism, and from the external environment [5]. Niches create a system of signals directed toward the maintenance of stem cells. That has been studied in detail on germline stem cells in Drosophila. For example, it was shown on the germinal stem cells in the Drosophila ovary how the signal from the stromal cells (Dpp) regulates the self-renewal of the stem cells and influences the fate of the daughter cells [6]. In the process of ontogenesis and during the neoplastic transformation, stem cells may divide both symmetrically and asymmetrically, depending on the circumstances under which they reside [2]. Asymmetric division and cell–cell interactions are universal mechanisms of the formation of cell diversity and are of primary importance in development of multicellular organisms. Diversity of cell types may be created in two major ways [7]. One way is when a great number of identical cells are initially formed which later acquire various ways of differentiation due to cell–cell interaction. In another case, daughter cells become different from their time of birth when, in the process of mitosis of polarized mother cell, cell fate determinants segregate only in one of the daughter cells. This distribution of determinants provides for specialization of one daughter cell in a certain way, which differs from the specialization of the sister cell.

V V Terskikh

N.K. Koltsov Institute of Developmental Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences

Email: terskikh@bk.ru

Ye A Vorotelyak

N.K. Koltsov Institute of Developmental Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences

A V Vasiliev

N.K. Koltsov Institute of Developmental Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences

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