Molecular Regulation of Intestinal Stem Cells
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Our body undergoes a remarkable growth from a single cell to a fully functional organism. Once into adulthood, the organism changes its focus from developing new tissue to maintaining the steady state. The intestine is an astonishing example of continuous tissue renewal in adult mammals. The finding that specialized cells with virtually unlimited self-renewal capacity replenish the intestinal epithelium leads to the identification of adult intestinal stem cells and molecular factors involved in their regulation. An understanding of mechanisms involved in intestinal stem cells can provide us with valuable insights and opportunities to treat disease such as cancer. This review summarizes the findings about intestinal stem cells with a focus on different signaling pathways involved in molecular regulation of these cells.