Image of the Day: Stomach Stem Cells

A mouse model demonstrates that mutations in stomach stem cells can drive gastric cancer growth.

Amy Schleunes
Feb 13, 2020
A human gastric organoid with the biomarker AQP5 labeled in green, cell membranes in red, and nuclei in blue
A*STAR Institute of Medical Biology

Researchers have located a stem cell–rich region of the distal human stomach using AQP5, a membrane protein newly identified as a biomarker of human pyloric stem cells, according to a study published on February 5 in Nature. Human stomach stem cells expressing this membrane protein grew into viable organoids. The team also selectively introduced gastric cancer–promoting mutations in mouse stomach stem cells bearing the same biomarker, according to a press release.

“Our ability to identify and purify tumour-resident stem cells in gastric cancer using the new AQP5 marker will allow us to directly evaluate their role in human cancer formation, characterise them in depth and potentially develop drug-screening tests to identify ways to selectively kill these cells,” says coauthor Nick Barker of Singapore’s A*STAR Institute of Medical Biology in the statement. 

“AQP5 enriches for stem cells and cancer origins in the distal stomach,” Nature, doi:10.1038/s41586-020-1973-x, 2020.

Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at

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