TU Dresden


Stem Cell Niches

Stem cell niches are regions where the local signaling microenvironment allows cells to adopt and maintain a stem cell fate. The range of these niche signals thus defines the physical size of the niche, and consequently the size of the stem cell pool. Using the germline stem cell niche of the Drosophila gonad as an experimental system Dr. Christian Bökel’s group studies how communication between niche and stem cells, as well as between different stem cell populations, regulates stem cell maintenance and proliferation. The group has developed novel, fluorescence based reporters that allow tracking of, e.g. BMP receptor activation live and with subcellular resolution (Michel et al., 2011) and demonstrated the first, experimentally verified example of a "stem cell niche synapse" as postulated for the mammalian hematopoietic system.

  • Michel, M., Raabe, I., Kupinski, A.P., Perez-Palencia, R., and Bökel, C. (2011). Local BMP receptor activation at adherens junctions in the Drosophila germline stem cell niche. Nat Commun 2, 415.