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Adv Med Sci. 2009;54(2):143-9. doi: 10.2478/v10039-009-0032-5.

Stem cell niche in the Drosophila ovary and testis; a valuable model of the intercellular signalling relationships.

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Department of Histology, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland.


One of the key factors determining the function of all types of stem cells is their location in a specific microenvironment called a niche which is understood as a system of adjacent cells directly influencing their ability to carry out self-renewal divisions. The cells which compose the niche influence cytophysiological processes of stem cells both directly via the intercellular junction system and via the synthesis and release of many protein regulatory substances which are ligands of specific receptors in a particular stem cell. These proteins are often the products of distinct genes whose expression tends to be specific for niche-composing cells. The niches formed of a few cells only observed in Drosophila gonads may become a valuable functional model in the studies of mammal stem cells since their analysis proves that the preservation of the stem cells' unique features does not require a large number of cells to be present in its vicinity.

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