Zon, L.I., (2008) Intrinsic and extrinsic control of haematopoietic stem-cell self-renewal. Nature. 453:306-313.
When stem cells divide, they can generate progeny with the same developmental potential as the original cell, a process referred to as self-renewal. Self-renewal is driven intrinsically by gene expression in a cell-type-specific manner and is modulated through interactions with extrinsic cues from the environment, such as growth factors. However, despite the prevalence of the term self-renewal in the scientific literature, this process has not been defined at the molecular level. Haematopoietic stem cells are an excellent model for the study of self-renewal because they can be isolated prospectively, manipulated relatively easily and assessed by using well-defined assays. Establishing the principles of self-renewal in haematopoietic stem cells will lead to insights into the mechanisms of self-renewal in other tissues.