Adult stem cell niches are often co-inhabited by cycling and quiescent stem cells. In the intestine, lineage tracing has identified Lgr5+ cells as frequently cycling stem cells, whereas Bmi1+, mTert+, Hopx+ and Lrig1+ cells appear to be more quiescent. Here, we have applied a non-mutagenic and cell cycle independent approach to isolate and characterize small intestinal label-retaining cells (LRCs) persisting in the lower third of the crypt of Lieberk├╝hn for up to 100 days. LRCs do not express markers of proliferation and of enterocyte, goblet or enteroendocrine differentiation, but are positive for Paneth cell markers. While during homeostasis, LR/Paneth cells appear to play a supportive role for Lgr5+ stem cells as previously shown, upon tissue injury they switch to a proliferating state and in the process activate Bmi1 expression while silencing Paneth-specific genes. Hence, they are likely to contribute to the regenerative process following tissue insults such as chronic inflammation.

doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0038965, hdl.handle.net/1765/67894
PLoS ONE
Department of Bioinformatics

Roth, S.G, Franken, P.F, Sacchetti, A, Kremer, A, Anderson, K.I, Sansom, O.J, & Fodde, R. (2012). Paneth cells in intestinal homeostasis and tissue injury. PLoS ONE, 7(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038965