Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, University of Minnesota, US
Stem cells are defined by their unique potential to self-renew and to differentiate into mature cell types, which support normal development and maintain tissue homeostasis. Stem cells typically reside in specialized microenvironments called ‘niches’, which are required for stem cell maintenance. To understand fundamental principles of stem cell regulation in the extracellular environment, we focus on the role of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) in stem cell control using the genetically tractable model organism Drosophila. HSPGs are a special type of carbohydrate-modified proteins that play a critical role in signaling and distribution of various growth factors, including (but not limited to) bone morphogenetic proteins, Wnt/Wingless, and Hedgehog. Using powerful Drosophila stem cell model systems, we found that HSPGs regulate poorly understood stem cell behaviors, including stem cell competition, replacement, and tissue regeneration.
Host: Jin-ping Li
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