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Genetic lineage markers for identifying intestinal cancer stem cells

Mouse studies suggest genetic lineage markers may be useful for identifying compounds that target intestinal cancer stem cells. A mouse model of adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc)-mutant intestinal adenoma was crossed with mice expressing R26-Confetti, a gene that marks leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 5 (Lgr5; Gpr49) in one of four different fluorescent colors. In the resulting mouse strain, the color-indicating Lgr5, an intestinal crypt stem cell marker, was enriched in a subpopulation of adenoma cells, suggesting the latter were cancer stem cells. Fluorescent tracking of the
Lgr5-enriched adenoma cells confirmed they were multipotent and gave rise to the other cell types in the adenoma. Next steps could include isolating and further characterizing the stem cell properties of the Lgr5-enriched adenoma cells (see Tracing cancer stem cells, page 1).

SciBX 5(32); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.855
Published online Aug. 16, 2012

Patent and licensing status undisclosed

Schepers, A.G. et al. Science; published online Aug. 1, 2012;
Contact: Hans Clevers, Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, the Netherlands