Bmi1 is expressed in vivo in intestinal stem cells

Eugenio Sangiorgi, Mario R. Capecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

892 Citations (Scopus)


Bmi1 plays an essential part in the self-renewal of hematopoietic and neural stem cells. To investigate its role in other adult stem cell populations, we generated a mouse expressing a tamoxifen-inducible Cre from the Bmi1 locus. We found that Bmi1 is expressed in discrete cells located near the bottom of crypts in the small intestine, predominantly four cells above the base of the crypt (+4 position). Over time, these cells proliferate, expand, self-renew and give rise to all the differentiated cell lineages of the small intestine epithelium. The induction of a stable form of beta-catenin in these cells was sufficient to rapidly generate adenomas. Moreover, ablation of Bmi1(+) cells using a Rosa26 conditional allele, expressing diphtheria toxin, led to crypt loss. These experiments identify Bmi1 as an intestinal stem cell marker in vivo. Unexpectedly, the distribution of Bmi1-expressing stem cells along the length of the small intestine suggested that mammals use more than one molecularly distinguishable adult stem cell subpopulation to maintain organ homeostasis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-920
Number of pages6
JournalNature Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Adult Stem Cells
  • Animals
  • Homeostasis
  • Intestines
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Tissue Distribution


Dive into the research topics of 'Bmi1 is expressed in vivo in intestinal stem cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this