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Elife. 2014 Dec 1;3. doi: 10.7554/eLife.04437.

EGFR signaling promotes self-renewal through the establishment of cell polarity in Drosophila follicle stem cells.

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Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, United States.


Epithelial stem cells divide asymmetrically, such that one daughter replenishes the stem cell pool and the other differentiates. We found that, in the epithelial follicle stem cell (FSC) lineage of the Drosophila ovary, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling functions specifically in the FSCs to promote the unique partially polarized state of the FSC, establish apical-basal polarity throughout the lineage, and promote FSC maintenance in the niche. In addition, we identified a novel connection between EGFR signaling and the cell-polarity regulator liver kinase B1 (LKB1), which indicates that EGFR signals through both the Ras-Raf-MEK-Erk pathway and through the LKB1-AMPK pathway to suppress apical identity. The development of apical-basal polarity is the earliest visible difference between FSCs and their daughters, and our findings demonstrate that the EGFR-mediated regulation of apical-basal polarity is essential for the segregation of stem cell and daughter cell fates.


D. melanogaster; EGFR; cell biology; cell polarity; developmental biology; epithelial cells; niche; stem cells

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