Expression of Musashi-1 in human normal colon crypt cells: a possible stem cell marker of human colon epithelium

Dig Dis Sci. 2003 Aug;48(8):1523-9. doi: 10.1023/a:1024763723240.


Musashi has been identified as an RNA-binding protein thought to be involved in asymmetric divisions during Drosophila neural development. To analyze expression patterns of mammalian Musashi homolog Musashi-1 in human normal colon crypt, 155 colon crypts separated from biopsy specimens of normal colonic mucosa were evaluated. Specimens were fixed, microdissected to isolate a few crypts, immunostained with anti-Musashi-1 antibody (14H1), and examined under confocal laser scan microscopy. The number of Musashi-1-positive cells in each crypt was 19.0 +/- 7.53 (mean +/- SD). Most Musashi-1 positive cells were located at the crypt base, between cell positions 1 and 10. Distribution of Musashi-1-positive cells corresponded with that of stem cells, as outlined in previous reports, implying that Musashi-1 is a key control element of asymmetrical division within the colon crypt. This is the first report outlining expression of Musashi-1 in human colon crypt cells.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biopsy
  • Cell Count / statistics & numerical data
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Colonic Polyps / genetics
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Reference Values
  • Stem Cells / pathology*


  • MSI1 protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins