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EMBO J. 2011 Aug 5;30(18):3823-9. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2011.263.

FBF represses the Cip/Kip cell-cycle inhibitor CKI-2 to promote self-renewal of germline stem cells in C. elegans.

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  • 1Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland.


Although the decision between stem cell self-renewal and differentiation has been linked to cell-cycle modifications, our understanding of cell-cycle regulation in stem cells is very limited. Here, we report that FBF/Pumilio, a conserved RNA-binding protein, promotes self-renewal of germline stem cells by repressing CKI-2(Cip/Kip), a Cyclin E/Cdk2 inhibitor. We have previously shown that repression of CYE-1 (Cyclin E) by another RNA-binding protein, GLD-1/Quaking, promotes germ cell differentiation. Together, these findings suggest that a post-transcriptional regulatory circuit involving FBF and GLD-1 controls the self-renewal versus differentiation decision in the germline by promoting high CYE-1/CDK-2 activity in stem cells, and inhibiting CYE-1/CDK-2 activity in differentiating cells.

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