PerspectiveDevelopmental Biology

Mesenchymal progenitor panoply

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Science  14 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6211, pp. 810-811
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0609

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Summary

Lung development relies on temporal and spatial cues to pattern the structures that sustain life through oxygen exchange. Signals from mesenchymal cells that develop into the stromal tissues of the lung are key to this elaborate process (1, 2). How the epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract arise from progenitor cells is better understood than the differentiation of mesenchymal progenitor cells. On page 827 of this issue, Kumar et al. (3) define dynamic niches that regulate multiple mesenchymal progenitor cell pools during mammalian lung development. The study suggests that mesenchymal progenitor cells are diverse and differentiate in response to distinct microenvironmental cues.