Cell fate transitionsCell identity is encoded in self-propagating regulatory networks that confer cell state stability. Most cells, however, acquire their identity during development by transiting through progressively restricted cell states. Thus, destabilization of existing and emergence of prospective regulatory networks underlies cell fate determination, and is reflected in the lineage progression from stem and progenitor cells into mature cell types.
In order to execute differentiation, stem and progenitor networks have to be dispersed and differentiation-specific circuits need to be established. Failure to do so infringes development and tissue regeneration, and also contributes to tumor-propagation. While cell identity networks are fairly well described, transitions between them are less studied.
Our research aims at deciphering mechanisms and logics driving cell state transitions using pluripotent stem cells as a paradigm. In particular, by combining genetic and biochemical approaches, we target the identification of modules that regulate cell state changeover, to specify the underlying network dynamics, and to deduce routines conferring network plasticity.
FMI report pages for Joerg Betschinger