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The mechanisms that restrict regeneration and maintain cell identity following injury are poorly characterized in higher vertebrates. Following β-cell loss, 1-2% of the glucagon-producing α-cells spontaneously engage in insulin production in mice. Here we explore the mechanisms inhibiting α-cell plasticity. We show that adaptive α-cell identity changes are constrained by intra-islet insulin- and Smoothened-mediated signalling, among others. The combination of β-cell loss or insulin-signalling inhibition, with Smoothened inactivation in α- or δ-cells, stimulates insulin production in more α-cells. These findings suggest that the removal of constitutive 'brake signals' is crucial to neutralize the refractoriness to adaptive cell-fate changes. It appears that the maintenance of cell identity is an active process mediated by repressive signals, which are released by neighbouring cells and curb an intrinsic trend of differentiated cells to change.
Lung epithelial lineages have been difficult to maintain in pure form in vitro, and lineage-specific reporters have proven invaluable for monitoring their emergence from cultured pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). However, reporter constructs for tracking proximal airway lineages generated from PSCs have not been previously available, limiting the characterization of these cells. Here, we engineer mouse and human PSC lines carrying airway secretory lineage reporters that facilitate the tracking, purification, and profiling of this lung subtype. Through bulk and single-cell-based global transcriptomic profiling, we find PSC-derived airway secretory cells are susceptible to phenotypic plasticity exemplified by the tendency to co-express both a proximal airway secretory program as well as an alveolar type 2 cell program, which can be minimized by inhibiting endogenous Wnt signaling. Our results provide global profiles of engineered lung cell fates, a guide for improving their directed differentiation, and a human model of the developing airway.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Many epithelial tissues rely on multipotent stem cells for the proper development and maintenance of their diverse cell lineages. Nevertheless, the identification of multipotent stem cell populations within the mammary gland has been a point of contention over the past decade. In this review, we provide a critical overview of the various lineage-tracing studies performed to address this issue and conclude that although multipotent stem cells exist in the embryonic mammary placode, the postnatal mammary gland instead contains distinct unipotent progenitor populations that contribute to stage-specific development and homeostasis. This begs the question of why differentiated mammary epithelial cells can exhibit stem cell behavior in culture. We speculate that such reprogramming potential is repressed in situ under normal conditions but revealed in vitro and might drive breast cancer development.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW - This review aims to summarize recent findings regarding the plasticity and fate switching among somatic and progenitor cells residing in the vascular wall of blood vessels in health and disease.
RECENT FINDINGS - Cell lineage tracing methods have identified multiple origins of stem cells, macrophages, and matrix-producing cells that become mobilized after acute or chronic injury of cardiovascular tissues. These studies also revealed that in the disease environment, resident somatic cells become plastic, thereby changing their stereotypical identities to adopt proinflammatory and profibrotic phenotypes. Currently, the functional significance of this heterogeneity among reparative cells is unknown. Furthermore, mechanisms that control cellular plasticity and fate decisions in the disease environment are poorly understood. Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for the majority of deaths worldwide. From a therapeutic perspective, these novel discoveries may identify new targets to improve the repair and regeneration of the cardiovascular system.
Cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 play important roles in polarization of macrophages/dendritic cells to an M2 phenotype, which is important for recovery from acute kidney injury. Both IL-4 and IL-13 activate JAK3/STAT6 signaling. In mice with diphtheria toxin receptor expression in proximal tubules (selective injury model), a relatively selective JAK3 inhibitor, tofacitinib, led to more severe kidney injury, delayed recovery from acute kidney injury, increased inflammatory M1 phenotype markers and decreased reparative M2 phenotype markers of macrophages/dendritic cells, and development of more severe renal fibrosis after diphtheria toxin administration. Similarly, there was delayed recovery and increased tubulointerstitial fibrosis in these diphtheria toxin-treated mice following tamoxifen-induced deletion of both IL-4 and IL-13, with increased levels of M1 and decreased levels of M2 markers in the macrophages/dendritic cells. Furthermore, deletion of IL-4 and IL-13 led to a decrease of tissue reparative M2a phenotype markers but had no effect on anti-inflammatory M2c phenotype markers. Deletion of IL-4 and IL-13 also inhibited recovery from ischemia-reperfusion injury in association with increased M1 and decreased M2 markers and promoted subsequent tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Thus, IL-4 and IL-13 are required to effectively polarize macrophages/dendritic cells to an M2a phenotype and to promote recovery from acute kidney injury.
Copyright © 2016 International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.