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Development. 2011 Mar;138(6):1045-55. doi: 10.1242/dev.056671. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

EGF signaling regulates the proliferation of intestinal stem cells in Drosophila.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Rochester, River Campus Box 270211, Rochester, NY 14627, USA.


Precise control of somatic stem cell proliferation is crucial to ensure maintenance of tissue homeostasis in high-turnover tissues. In Drosophila, intestinal stem cells (ISCs) are essential for homeostatic turnover of the intestinal epithelium and ensure epithelial regeneration after tissue damage. To accommodate these functions, ISC proliferation is regulated dynamically by various growth factors and stress signaling pathways. How these signals are integrated is poorly understood. Here, we show that EGF receptor signaling is required to maintain the proliferative capacity of ISCs. The EGF ligand Vein is expressed in the muscle surrounding the intestinal epithelium, providing a permissive signal for ISC proliferation. We find that the AP-1 transcription factor FOS serves as a convergence point for this signal and for the Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway, which promotes ISC proliferation in response to stress. Our results support the notion that the visceral muscle serves as a functional 'niche' for ISCs, and identify FOS as a central integrator of a niche-derived permissive signal with stress-induced instructive signals, adjusting ISC proliferation to environmental conditions.

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