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Cell Stem Cell. 2010 Jun 4;6(6):557-67. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2010.04.018.

Epigenetic regulation of stem cell maintenance in the Drosophila testis via the nucleosome-remodeling factor NURF.

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Department of Cell Biology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Regulation of stem cells depends on both tissue-specific transcriptional regulators and changes in chromatin organization, yet the coordination of these events in endogenous niches is poorly understood. In the Drosophila testis, local JAK-STAT signaling maintains germline and somatic stem cells (GSCs and cyst progenitor cells, or CPCs) in a single niche. Here we show that epigenetic regulation via the nucleosome-remodeling factor (NURF) complex ensures GSC and CPC maintenance by positively regulating JAK-STAT signaling, thereby preventing premature differentiation. Conversely, NURF is not required in early differentiating daughter cells of either lineage. Because three additional ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers (ACF, CHRAC, and dMi-2/NuRD) are dispensable for stem cell maintenance in the testis, epigenetic regulation of stem cells within this niche may rely primarily on NURF. Thus, local signals cooperate with specific chromatin-remodeling complexes in intact niches to coordinately regulate a common set of target genes to prevent premature stem cell differentiation.

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