ABSTRACT Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) are highly proliferative cells that fuel the continuous renewal of the intestinal epithelium. Understanding their regulatory mechanisms during tissue homeostasis is key to delineating their roles in development and regeneration, as well as diseases such as bowel cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. Previous studies of ISCs focused mainly on the position of these cells along the intestinal crypt and their capacity for multipotency. However, evidence increasingly suggests that ISCs also exist in distinct cellular states, which can be an acquired rather than a hardwired intrinsic property. In this Review, we summarise the recent findings into how ISC identity can be defined by proliferation state, signalling crosstalk, epigenetics and metabolism, and propose an update on the hallmarks of ISCs. We further discuss how these properties contribute to intestinal development and the dynamics of injury-induced regeneration.
The small guanine nucleotide binding protein p21(Ras) plays an important role in the activation of the Raf kinase. However, the precise mechanism by which Raf is activated remains unclear. It has been proposed that the sole function of p21(Ras)in Raf activation is to recruit Raf to the plasma membrane. We have used Drosophila embryos to examine the mechanism of Raf (Draf) activation in the complete absence of p21(Ras) (Ras1). We demonstrate that the role of Ras1 in Draf activation is not limited to the translocation of Draf to the membrane through a Ras1-Draf association. In addition, Ras1 is essential for the activation of an additional factor which in turn activates Draf.
14-3-3 proteins have been shown to interact with Raf-1 and cause its activation when overexpressed. However, their precise role in Raf-1 activation is still enigmatic, as they are ubiquitously present in cells and found to associate with Raf-1 in vivo regardless of its activation state. We have analyzed the function of the Drosophila 14–3-3 gene leonardo (leo) in the Torso (Tor) receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) pathway. In the syncytial blastoderm embryo, activation of Tor triggers the Ras/Raf/MEK pathway that controls the transcription of tailless (tll). We find that, in the absence of Tor, overexpression of leo is sufficient to activate tll expression. The effect of leo requires D-Raf and Ras1 activities but not KSR or DOS, two recently identified essential components of Drosophila RTK signaling pathways. Tor signaling is impaired in embryos derived from females lacking maternal expression of leo. We propose that binding to 14–3-3 by Raf is necessary but not sufficient for the activation of Raf and that overexpressed Drosophila 14–3-3 requires Ras1 to activate D-Raf.