Mei-P26 regulates the maintenance of ovarian germline stem cells by promoting BMP signaling.
ABSTRACT In the Drosophila ovary, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) ligands maintain germline stem cells (GSCs) in an undifferentiated state. The activation of the BMP pathway within GSCs results in the transcriptional repression of the differentiation factor bag of marbles (bam). The Nanos-Pumilio translational repressor complex and the miRNA pathway also help to promote GSC self-renewal. How the activities of different transcriptional and translational regulators are coordinated to keep the GSC in an undifferentiated state remains uncertain. Data presented here show that Mei-P26 cell-autonomously regulates GSC maintenance in addition to its previously described role of promoting germline cyst development. Within undifferentiated germ cells, Mei-P26 associates with miRNA pathway components and represses the translation of a shared target mRNA, suggesting that Mei-P26 can enhance miRNA-mediated silencing in specific contexts. In addition, disruption of mei-P26 compromises BMP signaling, resulting in the inappropriate expression of bam in germ cells immediately adjacent to the cap cell niche. Loss of mei-P26 results in premature translation of the BMP antagonist Brat in germline stem cells. These data suggest that Mei-P26 has distinct functions in the ovary and participates in regulating the fates of both GSCs and their differentiating daughters.
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ABSTRACT: The Drosophila oocyte develops within a cyst of 16 germline cells interconnected by ring canals. Polarized, microtubule-based transport of unknown determinants is required for oocyte formation, but whether polarity is established during or after cyst formation is not clear. We have analyzed how polarity develops in stem cells and dividing cysts by following the growth of the fusome, a vesiculated cytoplasmic organelle. Our studies show that the fusome grows by a regular, polarized process throughout the stem cell and cyst cell cycles. Each polarization cycle begins in mitosis, when the fusome segregates to a single daughter cell of each pair. Following mitosis, a 'plug' of fusomal material forms in each nascent ring canal and gradually fuses with the pre-existing fusome. In stem cells, the ring canal is transient and closes down after the fusome is partitioned through it. In dividing cysts, as the fusome plugs move toward the pre-existing fusome, their associated ring canals also move, changing the geometry of the cyst. At the end of each cycle of cyst growth, the fusome remains asymmetrically distributed within the cyst; one of the two cells with four ring canals retains a bigger piece of fusome than any other cell, including the other cell with four ring canals. Based on these observations, we argue that the oocyte is specified at the first cyst division.Development 09/1998; 125(15):2781-9. · 6.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The available experimental data support the hypothesis that the cap cells (CpCs) at the anterior tip of the germarium form an environmental niche for germline stem cells (GSCs) of the Drosophila ovary. Each GSC undergoes an asymmetric self-renewal division that gives rise to both a GSC, which remains associated with the CpCs, and a more posterior located cystoblast (CB). The CB upregulates expression of the novel gene, bag of marbles (bam), which is necessary for germline differentiation. Decapentaplegic (Dpp), a BMP2/4 homologue, has been postulated to act as a highly localized niche signal that maintains a GSC fate solely by repressing bam transcription. Here, we further examine the role of Dpp in GSC maintenance. In contrast to the above model, we find that an enhancer trap inserted near the Dpp target gene, Daughters against Dpp (Dad), is expressed in additional somatic cells within the germarium, suggesting that Dpp protein may be distributed throughout the anterior germarium. However, Dad-lacZ expression within the germline is present only in GSCs and to a lower level in CBs, suggesting there are mechanisms that actively restrict Dpp signaling in germ cells. We demonstrate that one function of Bam is to block Dpp signaling downstream of Dpp receptor activation, thus establishing the existence of a negative feedback loop between the action of the two genes. Moreover, in females doubly mutant for bam and the ubiquitin protein ligase Smurf, the number of germ cells responsive to Dpp is greatly increased relative to the number observed in either single mutant. These data indicate that there are multiple, genetically redundant mechanisms that act within the germline to downregulate Dpp signaling in the Cb and its descendants, and raise the possibility that a Cb and its descendants must become refractory to Dpp signaling in order for germline differentiation to occur.Development 06/2004; 131(9):1881-90. · 6.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Transforming Growth Factor-beta superfamily member decapentaplegic (dpp) acts as an extracellular morphogen to pattern the embryonic ectoderm of the Drosophila embryo. To identify components of the dpp signaling pathway, we screened for mutations that act as dominant maternal enhancers of a weak allele of the dpp target gene zerknŁllt. In this screen, we recovered new alleles of the Mothers against dpp (Mad) and Medea genes. Phenotypic analysis of the new Medea mutations indicates that Medea, like Mad, is required for both embryonic and imaginal disc patterning. Genetic analysis suggests that Medea may have two independently mutable functions in patterning the embryonic ectoderm. Complete elimination of maternal and zygotic Medea activity in the early embryo results in a ventralized phenotype identical to that of null dpp mutants, indicating that Medea is required for all dpp-dependent signaling in embryonic dorsal-ventral patterning. Injection of mRNAs encoding DPP or a constitutively activated form of the DPP receptor, Thick veins, into embryos lacking all Medea activity failed to induce formation of any dorsal cell fates, demonstrating that Medea acts downstream of the thick veins receptor. We cloned Medea and found that it encodes a protein with striking sequence similarity to human SMAD4. Moreover, injection of human SMAD4 mRNA into embryos lacking all Medea activity conferred phenotypic rescue of the dorsal-ventral pattern, demonstrating conservation of function between the two gene products.Development 04/1998; 125(8):1407-20. · 6.21 Impact Factor