Keeping stem cells healthy

The Transcription factor Klu (green) is expressed in stem-progenitor cells (red) of the adult fruit fly midgut.

New publication in Nature Communications

Adult stem cells in our body are crucial for replenishing dead and dying cells, for instance in our skin, blood and intestine. Keeping stem cells healthy contributes to a longer and healthier life for all animals, including humans. One central question is how stem cells decide which type of cells to generate. Jerome Korzelius working in the Department of Director Linda Partridge at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing found in fruit flies that a transcription factor named Klumpfuss is essential for proper differentiation of enterocytes. These cells take up nutrients in the intestine of both flies and humans.

The scientists show that Klumpfuss ensures the commitment of the enterocyte precursor cell, the enteroblast, through repression of the alternative entero-endocrine cell fate in the fly intestine. Hence, the researchers found a novel control mechanism that regulates how daughter cells of stem cells adopt their appropriate function.

The study was published in Nature Communications and also carried out at the Fritz-Lipmann-Institut (FLI) in Jena and in collaboration with Henri Jasper at Genentech and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, USA.

Original publication
Jerome Korzelius, Sina Azami, Tal Ronnen-Oron, Philipp Koch, Maik Baldauf, Elke Meier, Imilce A. Rodriguez-Fernandez, Marco Groth, Pedro Sousa-Victor & Heinrich Jasper
The WT1-like transcription factor Klumpfuss maintains lineage commitment of enterocyte progenitors in the Drosophila intestine
Nature Communications, September 2019

Learn more about the research in the Partridge department.

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