Cellular plasticity at the nexus of development and disease

Development. 2021 Feb 5;148(3):dev197392. doi: 10.1242/dev.197392.


In October 2020, the Keystone Symposia Global Health Series hosted a Keystone eSymposia entitled 'Tissue Plasticity: Preservation and Alteration of Cellular Identity'. The event synthesized groundbreaking research from unusually diverse fields of study, presented in various formats, including live and virtual talks, panel discussions and interactive e-poster sessions. The meeting focused on cell identity changes and plasticity in multiple tissues, species and developmental contexts, both in homeostasis and during injury. Here, we review the key themes of the meeting: (1) cell-extrinsic drivers of plasticity; (2) epigenomic regulation of cell plasticity; and (3) conserved mechanisms governing plasticity. A salient take-home conclusion was that there may be conserved mechanisms used by cells to execute plasticity, with autodegradative activity (autophagy and lysosomes) playing a crucial initial step in diverse organs and organisms.

Keywords: Dedifferentiation; Metaplasia; Paligenosis; Reprogramming; Transdifferentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Plasticity / drug effects*
  • Cell Plasticity / physiology*
  • Cell Transdifferentiation / physiology
  • Cellular Reprogramming / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Metaplasia
  • Resin Cements / pharmacology*


  • Nexus
  • Resin Cements