Maintaining Balance: Blood Progenitor Cells Receive Signals from Niche Cells and the Daughter Blood Cells They Create

The Two Signals Ensure an Adequate Population of Blood Progenitor Cells to Create and Maintain Blood Supply in the Common Fruit Fly
Thursday, December 22, 2011

Maintaining balance is crucial. In Drosophila, the common fruit fly, the creation and maintenance of the blood supply requires such balance.

UCLA stem cell scientists have now uncovered that two-way signaling from two different sets of cells is necessary for that balance, both to ensure enough blood cells are made to respond to injury and infection and that the blood progenitor cell population remains available for future needs.

The stem cell-like blood progenitor cells – which contribute to the cells of the adult fruit fly’s blood supply – receive signals from cells that live in a nearby safe zone, or niche. These signals keep the progenitors in the same stem cell-like state so, when needed, they can begin differentiating into blood cells.

And in a new discovery, the UCLA stem cell scientists found that the blood progenitor cells receive critical signals back from the daughter blood cells they create, telling the progenitor cells when enough blood cells have been made and it’s time to stop differentiating.

The new discovery of the “back talk” from the daughter blood cells appears Dec. 23, 2011 in the peer-reviewed journal Cell.

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Mirabai Vogt-James
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