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Exclusive multipotency and preferential asymmetric divisions in post-embryonic neural stem cells of the fish retina

Lázaro Centanin, Janina-J Ander, Burkhard Hoeckendorf, Katharina Lust, Tanja Kellner, Isabel Kraemer, Cedric Urbany, Eva Hasel, William A Harris, Benjamin D Simons, Joachim Wittbrodt
Development 2014, 141 (18): 3472-82
The potency of post-embryonic stem cells can only be addressed in the living organism, by labeling single cells after embryonic development and following their descendants. Recently, transplantation experiments involving permanently labeled cells revealed multipotent neural stem cells (NSCs) of embryonic origin in the medaka retina. To analyze whether NSC potency is affected by developmental progression, as reported for the mammalian brain, we developed an inducible toolkit for clonal labeling and non-invasive fate tracking. We used this toolkit to address post-embryonic stem cells in different tissues and to functionally differentiate transient progenitor cells from permanent, bona fide stem cells in the retina. Using temporally controlled clonal induction, we showed that post-embryonic retinal NSCs are exclusively multipotent and give rise to the complete spectrum of cell types in the neural retina. Intriguingly, and in contrast to any other vertebrate stem cell system described so far, long-term analysis of clones indicates a preferential mode of asymmetric cell division. Moreover, following the behavior of clones before and after external stimuli, such as injuries, shows that NSCs in the retina maintained the preference for asymmetric cell division during regenerative responses. We present a comprehensive analysis of individual post-embryonic NSCs in their physiological environment and establish the teleost retina as an ideal model for studying adult stem cell biology at single cell resolution.


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