New publication in Nature Cell Biology

Stem cells moonlight to protect the stomach from bacterial invaders

When bacteria invade gastric glands, the level of Wnt signaling, which drives stem cell turnover, increases. This paper shows that gastric glands contain a second population of stem cells that react to the signal in a completely unexpected way: they differentiate into secretory cells and begin to release antimicrobial proteins, such as intelectin 1. This binds bacteria trying to invade the gland and thereby protects the whole stem cell niche from damage induced by bacterial toxins. The findings show that regeneration and defense against pathogens are more intricately linked than previously recognized.

Sigal M, Reines MdM, Müllerke S, Fischer C, Kapalczynska M, Berger H, Bakker ERM, Mollenkopf H-J, Rothenberg ME, Wiedenmann B, Sauer S and Meyer TF. R-spondin-3 induces secretory, antimicrobial Lgr5+ cells in the stomachNature Cell Biology (2019)

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