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Nat Rev Genet. 2002 Dec;3(12):931-40.

The stem-cell niche theory: lessons from flies.

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Department of Cell Biology, Box 3709, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Stem cells are characterized by their ability to self-renew and to produce numerous differentiated cell types, and are directly responsible for generating and maintaining tissues and organs. This property has long been attributed to the instructive signals that stem cells receive from their microenvironment - the so-called 'stem-cell niche'. Studies of stem cells in the Drosophila gonad have yielded much exciting insight into the structure of the niche and the signalling pathways that it produces to regulate the self-renewal of stem cells. These findings are illuminating our understanding of the self-renewing mechanisms of tissue stem cells in general.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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