Organizing cell renewal in the intestine: stem cells, signals and combinatorial control

Nat Rev Genet. 2006 May;7(5):349-59. doi: 10.1038/nrg1840.


The lining of the intestine is renewed at an extraordinary rate, outpacing all other tissues in the vertebrate body. The renewal process is neatly organized in space, so that the whole production line, from the ever-youthful stem cells to their dying, terminally differentiated progeny, is laid out to view in histological sections. A flurry of recent papers has clarified the key regulatory signals and brought us to the point where we can begin to give a coherent account, for at least one tissue, of how these signals collaborate to organize the architecture and behaviour of a stem-cell system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / metabolism
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / embryology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Microvilli / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Ephrin protein, Drosophila
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Wnt Proteins