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Dev Biol. 2013 Dec 1;384(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.10.001. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

The Drosophila putative histone acetyltransferase Enok maintains female germline stem cells through regulating Bruno and the niche.

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MoE Key Laboratory of Developmental Genetics and Neuropsychiatric Diseases, Bio-X Institutes, School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 200240 Shanghai, PR China.


Maintenance of adult stem cells is largely dependent on the balance between their self-renewal and differentiation. The Drosophila ovarian germline stem cells (GSCs) provide a powerful in vivo system for studying stem cell fate regulation. It has been shown that maintaining the GSC population involves both genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Although the role of epigenetic regulation in this process is evident, the underlying mechanisms remain to be further explored. In this study, we find that Enoki mushroom (Enok), a Drosophila putative MYST family histone acetyltransferase controls GSC maintenance in the ovary at multiple levels. Removal or knockdown of Enok in the germline causes a GSC maintenance defect. Further studies show that the cell-autonomous role of Enok in maintaining GSCs is not dependent on the BMP/Bam pathway. Interestingly, molecular studies reveal an ectopic expression of Bruno, an RNA binding protein, in the GSCs and their differentiating daughter cells elicited by the germline Enok deficiency. Misexpression of Bruno in GSCs and their immediate descendants results in a GSC loss that can be exacerbated by incorporating one copy of enok mutant allele. These data suggest a role for Bruno in Enok-controlled GSC maintenance. In addition, we observe that Enok is required for maintaining GSCs non-autonomously. Compromised expression of enok in the niche cells impairs the niche maintenance and BMP signal output, thereby causing defective GSC maintenance. This is the first demonstration that the niche size control requires an epigenetic mechanism. Taken together, studies in this paper provide new insights into the GSC fate regulation.


Bruno; Enok; GSC maintenance; Histone acetyltransferase; Stem cell niche

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