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J Biosci. 2017 Jun;42(2):285-297.

Somatic PI3K activity regulates transition to the spermatocyte stages in Drosophila testis.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai 400 005, India.


Spermatogenesis, involving multiple transit amplification divisions and meiosis, occurs within an enclosure formed by two somatic cells. As the cohort of germline cells divide and grow, the surface areas of the somatic cells expand maintaining a tight encapsulation throughout the developmental period. Correlation between the somatic cell growth and germline development is unclear. Here, we report standardization of a quantitative assay developed for estimating the somatic roles of target molecules on germline division and differentiation in Drosophila testis. Using the assay, we studied the somatic roles of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K). It revealed that the expression of PI3KDN is likely to facilitate the early germline development at all stages, and an increase in the somatic PI3K activity during the early stages delays the transition to spermatocyte stage. Together, these results suggest that somatic cell growth plays an important role in regulating the rate of germline development.

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