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Dev Cell. 2006 Dec;11(6):775-89.

Prospero acts as a binary switch between self-renewal and differentiation in Drosophila neural stem cells.

Author information

1
The Gurdon Institute and Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QN, UK.

Abstract

Stem cells have the remarkable ability to give rise to both self-renewing and differentiating daughter cells. Drosophila neural stem cells segregate cell-fate determinants from the self-renewing cell to the differentiating daughter at each division. Here, we show that one such determinant, the homeodomain transcription factor Prospero, regulates the choice between stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. We have identified the in vivo targets of Prospero throughout the entire genome. We show that Prospero represses genes required for self-renewal, such as stem cell fate genes and cell-cycle genes. Surprisingly, Prospero is also required to activate genes for terminal differentiation. We further show that in the absence of Prospero, differentiating daughters revert to a stem cell-like fate: they express markers of self-renewal, exhibit increased proliferation, and fail to differentiate. These results define a blueprint for the transition from stem cell self-renewal to terminal differentiation.

PMID:
17141154
DOI:
10.1016/j.devcel.2006.09.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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