Nomenclature for cellular plasticity: are the terms as plastic as the cells themselves?

Jason C. Mills, Ben Z. Stanger, Maike Sander

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

44 Scopus citations


It is now recognized that cell identity is more fluid, and tissues more plastic, than previously thought. The plasticity of cells is relevant to diverse fields, most notably developmental and stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, and cancer biology. To date, a comprehensive and uniform nomenclature to define distinct cell states and their injury-induced interconversions has been elusive. The first Keystone Symposium devoted exclusively to cellular plasticity in regeneration and tumorigenesis was held on January 2019 in Keystone, Colorado, and featured a workshop on terminology in the cell plasticity field. Definitions for terms such as plasticity, de- and transdifferentiation, reversion, and paligenosis were discussed. Here, we summarize the content and tenor of the symposium and nomenclature-focused workshop with regard to terms in the field. We outline the challenges with current definitions and recommend best practices and approaches to developing an accurate and acceptable nomenclature in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere103148
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Nomenclature for cellular plasticity: are the terms as plastic as the cells themselves?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this