Stem cell biology, though a well-established concept in the scientific zeitgeist, is only beginning to emerge as an independent field of study. An understanding of basic stem cell biology and its translation into clinically applicable therapies holds the potential to direct a paradigm shift in modern medical practice. However, in order to realize this potential, the scientific community must first understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms by which cells acquire and maintain ‘stemness’, specifically, multipotency and the ability to self-renew. Studying the transcriptional machinery that controls these properties could lead to a greater understanding of stem cells as a component of physiology as a whole. Due to its critical importance to homeostasis, the gastrointestinal tract is an attractive system for the study of stem cell biology. Sox factors, a group of transcription factors that have previously been associated with embryonic and neural stem cells, are rapidly emerging as central to maintaining ‘stemness’ in the gastrointestinal tract as well. This work reviews the known role of Sox factors in the gastrointestinal epithelium and describes our novel findings regarding Sox9 as a marker of stem cells in the adult intestinal epithelium.
|Advisor:||Lund, P. Kay, Magness, Scott T.|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|Department:||Cell & Molecular Physiology|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||MAI 50/01M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Molecular biology, Genetics, Physiology|
|Keywords:||Gastrointestinal physiology, Somatic stem cells, Sox factors, Sox9, Stem cells, Transcription factors|
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