Tuesday, May 4 at 11:00am to 12:00pm
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Abstract: To replenish cells lost through exhaustion or damage, tissue stem cells must achieve a perfect balance between renewal and differentiation. To study the factors that control fate asymmetry, emphasis has been placed on mechanisms in which stem cell competence relies on signals from a discrete anatomical niche. However, in many tissues, stem cell maintenance takes place in a "facultative" niche, where stem cells disperse among their differentiating progenies. Using mouse spermatogenesis as a model, we show that stem cell density regulation relies on a feedback mechanism, reminiscent of "quorum sensing", in which stem cells transition reversibly between states biased for renewal and primed for differentiation. Using a modelling-based approach, we show that this mechanism provides predictive insights into stem cell dynamics during steady-state, as well as under perturbed and transplantation conditions. We discuss the implications of these findings for stem cell flexibility, plasticity and density regulation in other epithelial tissues.
Hosts: Rong Lu and Michael Bonaguidi