[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drosophila neural stem cells, larval brain neuroblasts (NBs), align their mitotic spindles along the apical/basal axis during asymmetric cell division (ACD) to maintain the balance of self-renewal and differentiation. Here, we identified a protein complex composed of the tumor suppressor anastral spindle 2 (Ana2), a dynein light-chain protein Cut up (Ctp), and Mushroom body defect (Mud), which regulates mitotic spindle orientation. We isolated two ana2 alleles that displayed spindle misorientation and NB overgrowth phenotypes in larval brains. The centriolar protein Ana2 anchors Ctp to centrioles during ACD. The centriolar localization of Ctp is important for spindle orientation. Ana2 and Ctp localize Mud to the centrosomes and cell cortex and facilitate/maintain the association of Mud with Pins at the apical cortex. Our findings reveal that the centrosomal proteins Ana2 and Ctp regulate Mud function to orient the mitotic spindle during NB asymmetric division.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How a cell decides to self-renew or differentiate is a critical issue in stem cell and cancer biology. Atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) promotes self-renewal of Drosophila larval brain neural stem cells, neuroblasts. However, it is unclear how aPKC cortical polarity and protein levels are regulated. Here, we have identified a zinc-finger protein, Zif, which is required for the expression and asymmetric localization of aPKC. aPKC displays ectopic cortical localization with upregulated protein levels in dividing zif mutant neuroblasts, leading to neuroblast overproliferation. We show that Zif is a transcription factor that directly represses aPKC transcription. We further show that Zif is phosphorylated by aPKC both in vitro and in vivo. Phosphorylation of Zif by aPKC excludes it from the nucleus, leading to Zif inactivation in neuroblasts. Thus, reciprocal repression between Zif and aPKC act as a critical regulatory mechanism for establishing cell polarity and controlling neuroblast self-renewal.