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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Nov 16;107(46):19939-44. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1008606107. Epub 2010 Nov 1.

Lissencephaly-1 controls germline stem cell self-renewal through modulating bone morphogenetic protein signaling and niche adhesion.

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The Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.


In the Drosophila ovary, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling activated by the niche promotes germline stem cell (GSC) self-renewal and proliferation, whereas E-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion anchors GSCs in the niche for their continuous self-renewal. Here we show that Lissencephaly-1 (Lis1) regulates BMP signaling and E-cadherin-mediated adhesion between GSCs and their niche and thereby controls GSC self-renewal. Lis1 mutant GSCs are lost faster than control GSCs because of differentiation but not because of cell death, indicating that Lis1 controls GSC self-renewal. The Lis1 mutant GSCs exhibit reduced BMP signaling activity, and Lis1 interacts genetically with the BMP pathway components in the regulation of GSC maintenance. Mechanistically, Lis1 binds directly to and stabilizes the SMAD protein Mothers against decapentaplegic (Mad), facilitates its phosphorylation, and thereby regulates BMP signaling. Finally, the Lis1 mutant GSCs accumulate less E-cadherin in the stem cell-niche junction than do their wild-type counterparts. Germline-specific expression of an activated BMP receptor thickveins (Tkv) or E-cadherin can partially rescue the loss phenotype of Lis1 mutant GSCs. Therefore, this study has revealed a role of Lis1 in the control of Drosophila ovarian GSC self-renewal, at least partly by regulating niche signal transduction and niche adhesion. It has been known that Lis1 controls neural precursor/stem cell proliferation in the developing mammalian brain; this study further suggests that Lis1, which is widely expressed in adult mammalian tissues, could regulate adult tissue stem cells through modulating niche signaling and adhesion.

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