Novel regulators revealed by profiling Drosophila testis stem cells within their niche.

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Medical Center, 421 Curie Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104-6058, USA.
Developmental Biology (Impact Factor: 3.64). 07/2006; 294(1):246-57. DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.02.048
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Stem cells are defined by the fact that they both self-renew, producing additional stem cells, and generate lineal descendants that differentiate into distinct functional cell types. In Drosophila, a small germline stem cell population is influenced by a complex microenvironment, the stem cell niche, which itself includes a somatic stem cell population. While stem cells are unique, their immediate descendants retain considerable stem cell character as they mitotically amplify prior to differentiation and can be induced to de-differentiate into stem cells. Despite their importance, very few genes are known that are expressed in the stem cells or their early amplifying daughters. We present here whole-genome microarray expression analysis of testes specifically enriched for stem cells, their amplifying daughters, and their niche. These studies have identified a number of loci with highly specific stem cell expression and provide candidate downstream targets of Jak/Stat self-renewal signaling. Furthermore, functional analysis for two genes predicted to be enriched has enabled us to define novel regulators of the germline lineage. The gene list generated in this study thus provides a potent resource for the investigation of stem cell identity and regulation from functional as well as evolutionary perspectives.

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