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Abstract

The digestive systems in mammals and Drosophila are quite different in terms of their complexity and organization, but their biological functions are similar. The Drosophila midgut is a functional equivalent of the mouse small intestine. Adult intestinal stem cells (ISCs) have been identified in both the mouse small intestine and Drosophila midgut. The anatomy and cell renewal in the Drosophila midgut are similar to those in the mouse small intestine: the intestinal epithelium in both systems is a tube composed of epithelial cells with absorptive and secretory functions; the Notch signaling controls absorptive versus secretory fate decisions in the intestinal epithelium; cell renewal in both systems starts from stem cells in the basal cell layer, and the differentiated cells then move toward the lumen. However, it is clear that the stem cells in the two systems are regulated in different ways. In this review, we will compare cell renewal and stem cell regulation in the two systems. J. Cell. Physiol. 222:33–37, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.