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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 20;107(16):7389-94. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003180107. Epub 2010 Apr 5.

Epigenetic stability increases extensively during Drosophila follicle stem cell differentiation.

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Department of Embryology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Laboratories, Carnegie Institution, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.


Stem and embryonic cells facilitate programming toward multiple daughter cell fates, whereas differentiated cells resist reprogramming and oncogenic transformation. How alterations in the chromatin-based machinery of epigenetic inheritance contribute to these differences remains poorly known. We observed random, heritable changes in GAL4/UAS transgene programming during Drosophila ovarian follicle stem cell differentiation and used them to measure the stage-specific epigenetic stability of gene programming. The frequency of GAL4/UAS reprogramming declines more than 100-fold over the nine divisions comprising this stem cell lineage. Stabilization acts in cis, suggesting that it is chromatin-based, and correlates with increased S phase length. Our results suggest that stem/early progenitor cells cannot accurately transmit nongenetic information to their progeny; full epigenetic competence is acquired only gradually during early differentiation. Modulating epigenetic inheritance may be a critical process controlling transitions between the pleuripotent and differentiated states.

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