September 1, 2016
Two studies publishing on 1st September in Open Access journal PLOS Biology identify overlapping groups of cells in the Drosophila larva that have unique properties. In one case, the cells are resistant to irradiation or drug-induced cell death and capable of moving to areas of damaged tissue where they adopt a new fate and initiate regeneration. The second study examines cells from the same location and reports that, upon inactivation of a tumor suppressor gene, these cells but not others elsewhere in the same tissue take a first step towards becoming aggressive tumors. Both sets of authors discuss potential implications for human tumors.