Musashi Signaling in Stem Cells and Cancer
Raymond G. Fox, Frederick D. Park, Claire S. Koechlein, Marcie Kritzik, and Tannishtha Reya. 2015.
The Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology DOI: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-100814-125446. PubMed | PDF |
How a single cell gives rise to an entire organism is one of biology’s greatest mysteries. Within this process, stem cells play a key role by serving as seed cells capable of both self-renewal to sustain themselves as well as differentiation to generate the full diversity of mature cells and functional tissues. Understanding how this balance between self-renewal and differentiation is achieved is crucial to defining not only the underpinnings of normal development but also how its subversion can lead to cancer. Musashi, a family of RNA binding proteins discovered originally in Drosophila and named after the iconic samurai, Miyamoto Musashi, has emerged as a key signal that confers and protects the stem cell state across organisms. Here we explore the role of this signal in stem cells and how its reactivation can be a critical element in oncogenesis. Relative to long-established developmental signals such as Wnt, Hedgehog, and Notch, our understanding of Musashi remains in its infancy; yet all evidence suggests that Musashi will emerge as an equally powerful paradigm for regulating development and cancer and may be destined to have a great impact on biology and medicine.