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The epithelial lining of the small intestine is continuously renewed from a small number of stem cells including Lgr5 expressing crypt base cells that have been shown to be a rapidly cycling stem cell population in homeostasis. Alternative markers of intestinal stem cells have variously identified populations as rapidly cycling or quiescent with proposed roles for the latter as a parallel or reserve stem cell population. However, the exact nature of quiescent crypt cells remains unknown. Here by applying novel mouse models that permit their isolation and characterisation as label-retaining cells (LRCs), and for the first time performing lineage tracing from them, we show quiescent cells to be committed secretory precursors that are capable of recall to the stem cell state. We reveal LRCs to be a small subset of the rapidly cycling Lgr5 expressing population committed along the Paneth-enteroendocrine lineage. Significantly, after injury and subsequent regeneration they are clonogenic, as shown by both lineage tracing and organoid growth demonstrating that they can be recalled to the stem cell pool. These findings in establishing quiescent cells as an effective clonogenic reserve during injury provides a motivation for investigating their role in the maintenance of cancer growth following adjuvant treatment. Six age and sex (female) matched Cyp1a1-H2B-YFP mice ten days post βNF induction were used comparing three cell populations from each. Following epithelial isolation, single cell preparation and staining with anti-CD24 anitbody and UEA-1 lectin, 30,000 cells were flow sorted for each population: Paneth cells (Paneth) were defined as CD24+/UEA+, YFP-LRCs (YFPpos) as CD24+/UEA-/YFP+ and LCCs (YFPneg) as CD24+/UEA-/YFP-. Microarray expression comparison was then performed to identify unique markers of each population. RNA amplification and hybridisation was performed at the Paterson Institute, Manchester, UK, Microarray Facility using Nugen Ovation Pico WTA System for amplification and then hybridisation to a Mouse Exon 1.0 ST Array. Arrays were scanned using an Affymetrix GeneChip scanner 3000 running GCOS software.

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