Pituitary Development & Homeostasis
Stem cells of the primordium of the anterior pituitary, the Rathke’s Pouch, give rise to all of the hormone-producing cell types in this tissue. During adulthood, when the organ reaches homeostasis, there is a requirement to replenish hormone-producing cells and to expand the populations depending on hormonal demand e.g. during pregnancy. We have shown that stem cells, expressing the transcription factor SOX2, are capable of generating new cells throughout life. The mechanisms that regulate the size of the stem cell pool and instruct proliferation and commitment are poorly understood. We are studying the signaling mechanisms controlling these processes in the mouse.