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1.  Context-Dependent Differentiation of Multipotential Keratin 14–Expressing Tracheal Basal Cells 
Multipotential (MP) differentiation is one characteristic of a tissue-specific stem cell (TSC). Lineage tracing of tracheobronchial basal cells after naphthalene (NA) injury or in the postnatal period demonstrated that basal cells were MP progenitors for Clara-like and ciliated cells. These studies, as well as reports of spatially restricted, label-retaining basal cells, and MP differentiation by human bronchial cells support the hypothesis that a TSC maintained and repaired the tracheobronchial epithelium. However, differences in basal cell phenotype (keratin [K] 5+ versus K14+), age (postnatal versus adult), health status (normal versus injured), and injury type (acid, detergent, NA) limited comparisons among studies and thus diminished the strength of the TSC argument. The finding that K14 was up-regulated after NA injury was a caveat to our previous analysis of reparative (r)K14-expressing cells (EC). Thus, the present study lineage traced steady-state (s)K14EC and evaluated differentiation potential in the normal and repairing epithelium. We showed that sK14EC were unipotential in the normal epithelium and MP after NA, sK14EC-dervied clones were not restricted to putative TSC niches, sK14EC cells were a direct progenitor for Clara-like and ciliated cells, MP-sK14EC clones accumulated over time, and sK14EC-derived Clara-like cells were progenitors for ciliated cells.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0283OC
PMCID: PMC3175566  PMID: 21131447
basal; clara-like; ciliated; differentiation potential; lineage tracing; tissue-specific stem cell

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