A miR-34a-Numb Feedforward Loop Triggered by Inflammation Regulates Asymmetric Stem Cell Division in Intestine and Colon Cancer Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Asymmetric Cell Division
  • Inflammation
  • Membrane Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins


  • Emerging evidence suggests that microRNAs can initiate asymmetric division, but whether microRNA and protein cell fate determinants coordinate with each other remains unclear. Here, we show that miR-34a directly suppresses Numb in early-stage colon cancer stem cells (CCSCs), forming an incoherent feedforward loop (IFFL) targeting Notch to separate stem and non-stem cell fates robustly. Perturbation of the IFFL leads to a new intermediate cell population with plastic and ambiguous identity. Lgr5+ mouse intestinal/colon stem cells (ISCs) predominantly undergo symmetric division but turn on asymmetric division to curb the number of ISCs when proinflammatory response causes excessive proliferation. Deletion of miR-34a inhibits asymmetric division and exacerbates Lgr5+ ISC proliferation under such stress. Collectively, our data indicate that microRNA and protein cell fate determinants coordinate to enhance robustness of cell fate decision, and they provide a safeguard mechanism against stem cell proliferation induced by inflammation or oncogenic mutation.

publication date

  • February 4, 2016



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC4751059

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.stem.2016.01.006

PubMed ID

  • 26849305

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 189

end page

  • 202


  • 18


  • 2