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Genesis. 2012 Jan;50(1):1-17. doi: 10.1002/dvg.20806. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Cell plasticity in Caenorhabditis elegans: from induced to natural cell reprogramming.

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Development and Stem Cells Programme, Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS UMR 7104, INSERM U964, Université de Strasbourg, 67404 Illkirch CU Strasbourg, France.


Achieving controlled reprogramming of differentiated cells into a desired cell type would open new opportunities in stem-cell biology and regenerative medicine. Experimentation on cell reprogramming requires a model in which cell conversion can be induced and tracked individually. The tiny nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, owing to its known cellular lineage, allows the study of direct cell type conversion with a single-cell resolution. Indeed, recent advances have shown that despite its invariant cell lineage, cellular identities can be reprogrammed, leading to cell conversion in vivo. In addition, natural transdifferentiation events occur in the worm, providing a powerful model for the study of cellular plasticity in a physiological cellular microenvironment. Here, we review pioneer studies on induced and naturally occurring reprogramming events in C. elegans and the new notions that have emerged.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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