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Elife. 2019 May 16;8. pii: e43747. doi: 10.7554/eLife.43747.

Stem cell topography splits growth and homeostatic functions in the fish gill.

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Centre for Organismal Studies, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Australia.
Institute of Applied Mathematics, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
Centro Andaluz de Biología del Desarrollo, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain.
Laboratory of Bioresources, National Institute for Basic Biology, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Okazaki, Japan.
Bioquant Center, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.


While lower vertebrates contain adult stem cells (aSCs) that maintain homeostasis and drive un-exhaustive organismal growth, mammalian aSCs display mainly the homeostatic function. Here, we use lineage analysis in the medaka fish gill to address aSCs and report separate stem cell populations for homeostasis and growth. These aSCs are fate-restricted during the entire post-embryonic life and even during re-generation paradigms. We use chimeric animals to demonstrate that p53 mediates growth coordination among fate-restricted aSCs, suggesting a hierarchical organisation among lineages in composite organs like the fish gill. Homeostatic and growth aSCs are clonal but differ in their topology; modifications in tissue architecture can convert the homeostatic zone into a growth zone, indicating a leading role for the physical niche defining stem cell output. We hypothesise that physical niches are main players to restrict aSCs to a homeostatic function in animals with fixed adult size.


adult stem cells; developmental biology; fate-restriction; growth coordination; lineage analysis; medaka; organ growth; regenerative medicine; stem cells

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