STEM CELLS

Cholesterol and stem cell proliferation

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Science  23 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6378, pp. 881-882
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6378.881-b

Cells require basic building components such as nucleotides, amino acids, and lipids. The lipid cholesterol regulates specific signaling pathways for proper cell function. Wang et al. report an additional role, one that affects the critical balance between proliferation and differentiation. When the phospholipid-remodeling enzyme Lpcat3 is inhibited, cholesterol biosynthesis increases, with resultant intestinal stem cell proliferation. This increase in cell number is normalized if cholesterol synthesis is blocked pharmacologically. Similarly, crypt organoid growth increased with cholesterol levels, and loss of Lpcat3 enhances tumor formation. This work reveals a critical role for phospholipid remodeling and cholesterol metabolism in intestinal stem cell homeostasis and cancer development.

Cell Stem Cell 10.1016/j.stem.2017.12.017 (2018).

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