Articulating the “stem cell niche” paradigm through the lens of non-model aquatic invertebrates

P. Martinez, L. Ballarin, A. V. Ereskovsky, E. Gazave, B. Hobmayer, L. Manni, E. Rottinger, S. G. Sprecher, S. Tiozzo, A. Varela-Coelho, B. Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Stem cells (SCs) in vertebrates typically reside in “stem cell niches” (SCNs), morphologically restricted tissue microenvironments that are important for SC survival and proliferation. SCNs are broadly defined by properties including physical location, but in contrast to vertebrates and other “model” organisms, aquatic invertebrate SCs do not have clearly documented niche outlines or properties. Life strategies such as regeneration or asexual reproduction may have conditioned the niche architectural variability in aquatic or marine animal groups. By both establishing the invertebrates SCNs as independent types, yet allowing inclusiveness among them, the comparative analysis will allow the future functional characterization of SCNs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge the help of Manuel Romera and Oshrat Ben-Hamo with the graphics; Megan Leigh for improving the English style; Jaume Bagu?? (Universitat de Barcelona) and Ellen Rothenberg (Caltech) for reading the whole manuscript and giving us perceptive remarks; and Bernie Degnan, Micha?l Manuel, Michalis Averof, Florian Raible, William Jeffery, B. Duygu ?zpolat, Michael Levin, Maria Dolores Molina, and Elaine Seaver for kindly answering our many specific questions.

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the COST Action 16203 MARISTEM (Stem Cells of Marine/Aquatic Invertebrates: From Basic Research to Innovative Applications). EG’s work is supported by funding from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the INSB Department (grant “Diversity of Biological Mechanisms”), the Labex “Who Am I” Laboratory of Excellence (no. ANR-11-LABX-0071), the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (grants TELOBLAST and STEM), the Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (grant PJA 20191209482), and the Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer (grant RS20/75-20). Work in PM’s laboratory is supported by a grant of the Spanish “Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion” (PGC2018-094173-B-I00). BH is supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND program ARDRE “Ageing, Regeneration and Drug Research” (research grant nr. 847681). ER is supported by funding from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) via the INSB (grant “Diversity of Biological Mechanisms”) and from the French Government (National Research Agency, ANR) through the “Investments for the Future” programs LABEX SIGNALIFE (ANR-11-LABX-0028) and IDEX UCA (ANR-15-IDEX-01) as well as the grant RENEW (ANR-19-PRC). AE’s work is supported by a grant from Russian Science Foundation (grant no. 17-14-01089). BR is supported by a grant from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF no. 2015012), Jerusalem, Israel. The authors would like to acknowledge the thorough but constructive comments of the referees. We appreciate them. Jedi

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Adult stem cell (ASCs)
  • Germline stem cells (GSCs)
  • Marine/aquatic organisms
  • Phyletic diversity
  • Self-renewal
  • Stem cell niche (SCN)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Structural Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • Plant Science
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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