How do cells interact with other cells? We discovered that mouse mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can either fuse and form heterokaryons (cells with 2 nuclei) with mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) or can be invaded by ESCs through the entotic process (when one cell enters into another cell). Upon entosis the nucleus of the ESCs is degraded, while heterokaryons convert into synkaryons (cells with one nucleus containing both parental chromosomes) through cell division. These mechanisms are controlled by the activity of cytoskeleton components. Overall these are two profoundly different outcomes of cell-to-cell interactions, which might be important for different biological processes.
Sottile F. et al., Scientific Reports 2016 Nov 9;6:36863.