Roel Nusse, Ph.D.- March 27, 2018

Our laboratory is interested in the growth, development and integrity of animal tissues, with a focus on stem cells. Wnt signaling is widely implicated in stem cell control, as a mechanism to regulate the number of stem cells in tissues, Using various cell labeling and lineage tracing  methods, we have described novel populations of stem cells in various tissues, including in the liver. In that tissue, we found that hepatocytes that reside in the pericentral domain of the liver demonstrate stem cell behavior. Although these cells are functional hepatocytes, they are diploid and thus differ from the mostly polyploid mature hepatocyte population. They are active in homeostatic cell replacement. Adjacent central vein endothelial cells provide the essential source of Wnt signals for the hepatocyte stem cells and thereby constitute the liver stem cell niche.