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What does the concept of the stem cell niche really mean today?

Arthur D Lander1*, Judith Kimble2, Hans Clevers3, Elaine Fuchs4, Didier Montarras5, Margaret Buckingham5, Anne L Calof6, Andreas Trumpp78 and Thordur Oskarsson9

Author affiliations

1 Center for Complex Biological Systems, 2638 Biological Sciences III, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-2300, USA

2 341E Biochemistry Addition, Department of Biochemistry, 433 Babcock Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1544, USA

3 Hubrecht Institute, Uppsalalaan 8, 3584 CT Utrecht, The Netherlands

4 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA

5 Institut Pasteur, CNRS URA2578, Département de Biologie du Développement, 28 rue du, Dr Roux, 75015 Paris, France

6 Dept of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Developmental and Cell Biology, and the Center for Complex Biological Systems, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-1275, USA

7 Divison of Stem Cells and Cancer, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany

8 HI-STEM - Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine, gGmbH, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany

9 Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany

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Citation and License

BMC Biology 2012, 10:19  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-19

Published: 9 March 2012

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

Ideas about stem cells, and how they behave, have been undergoing a lot of change in recent years, thanks to developments in visualizing, monitoring, and manipulating cells and tissues. Curious to find out what impact these changes are having on one of the most enduring and widely accepted metaphors in stem cell biology - the idea of the stem cell niche - BMC Biology asked researchers working on a variety of systems to write about their current conception of what a stem cell niche really is.