A new molecular guardian of intestinal stem cells

Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) investigated how intestinal stem cells are controlled at the molecular level to remain stem cells or to develop into one of various intestinal cells. By studying mice lacking the protein IRF2, the researchers found a blunted regenerative response and an increased development of immature Paneth cells upon intestinal inflammation and infection. These findings help clarify the molecular biology of intestinal stem cells.