The North West Embryonic Stem Cell Centre

The stem cell niche

Adult stem cells are maintained in a unique environment of cell bound molecules and cell contact patterns: this forms the stem cell niche. For embryonic stem cells the niche is less well identified or understood. However the inner cell mass stem cell population is enclosed on its outer aspect by trophectoderm cells and on its inner face with primitive (extraembryonic) endoderm. These cells make secreted signalling molecules and extracellular matrix components as well as maintaining physical cell-cell contact with some cells of the stem cell population. They contribute to an embryonic stem cell niche both before and just after implantation of the embryo in vivo.

We are currently investigating the role of the extra cellular matrix in hES cell maintenance by a combination of techniques.

Principal investigators

Collaborator

Postdoctoral research associate

Research assistants

Promoting a greater understanding of the niche

HUES 7 on stromal cells

In embryonic stem cells the niche is less well identified or understood. Our work in this area will help to promote a greater understanding of this domain.