Visualization of individual cell division history in complex tissues using iCOUNT

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Annina Denoth-Lippuner - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Baptiste N. Jaeger - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Tong Liang - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Lars N. Royall - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Stefanie E. Chie - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Kilian Buthey - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Diana Machado - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Vladislav I. Korobeynyk - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Merit Kruse - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Clara M. Munz - , Institute for Immunology (Author)
  • Alexander Gerbaulet - , Institute for Immunology (Author)
  • Benjamin D. Simons - , University of Cambridge (Author)
  • Sebastian Jessberger - , University of Zurich (Author)


The division potential of individual stem cells and the molecular consequences of successive rounds of proliferation remain largely unknown. Here, we developed an inducible cell division counter (iCOUNT) that reports cell division events in human and mouse tissues in vitro and in vivo. Analyzing cell division histories of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) in the developing and adult brain, we show that iCOUNT can provide novel insights into stem cell behavior. Further, we use single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) of iCOUNT-labeled NSPCs and their progenies from the developing mouse cortex and forebrain-regionalized human organoids to identify functionally relevant molecular pathways that are commonly regulated between mouse and human cells, depending on individual cell division histories. Thus, we developed a tool to characterize the molecular consequences of repeated cell divisions of stem cells that allows an analysis of the cellular principles underlying tissue formation, homeostasis, and repair.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2020-2034.e12
JournalCell Stem Cell
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2021

External IDs

PubMed 34525348


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Cell division history, human brain organoid, imaging, neurogenesis, recombination, single cell RNA sequencing, stem cell proliferation, transgenesis