Genetic Regulation of Adult Stem Cell Dynamics

Adult stem cells (ASCs) with self-renewal and differentiation abilities are present in various organs in the body. Where these ASCs are actively involved in tissue maintenance during homeostasis, injury, as well as infection. The ASCs function requires precise regulation of proliferation, differentiation, survival, and migration. Any irregularities in these processes can inhibit tissue recovery or may even lead to cancer. Several genetic factors have been identified that precisely regulate the behaviour/ activities of these ASCs. A thorough understanding of these mechanisms would eventually help us regulate adult stem cells’ function in various disease conditions.

The studies on different animal models (such as Mice, Zebrafish, Drosophila, Planarians) have contributed significantly to our present understanding of these genetic regulatory mechanisms. In this review, we have browsed through over 200 publications and summarised the discoveries demonstrating how different genes and signalling pathways (e.g. Wnt, Notch, JAK/STAT, Hippo, TGF-β, Hedgehog, MAPK/ERK) regulate the dynamics of four different ASCs, i.e. Intestinal stem cells, Neural stem cells, Hematopoietic stem cells, and Epidermal stem cells. We made four figures corresponding to each type of stem cell that nicely illustrates how modulation in different signalling pathways regulates the survival, proliferation, and differentiation abilities of these ASCs. This review will serve as a one-stop resource for the scientific community investigating the genetic regulation of adult stem cells.


Infection and Stem Cell Biology Lab, Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Faridabad, India.


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