A regulatory network of Drosophila germline stem cell self-renewal.
ABSTRACT: Stem cells possess the capacity to generate two cells of distinct fate upon division: one cell retaining stem cell identity and the other cell destined to differentiate. These cell fates are established by cell-type-specific genetic networks. To comprehensively identify components of these networks, we performed a large-scale RNAi screen in Drosophila female germline stem cells (GSCs) covering ?25% of the genome. The screen identified 366 genes that affect GSC maintenance, differentiation, or other processes involved in oogenesis. Comparison of GSC regulators with neural stem cell self-renewal factors identifies common and cell-type-specific self-renewal genes. Importantly, we identify the histone methyltransferase Set1 as a GSC-specific self-renewal factor. Loss of Set1 in neural stem cells does not affect cell fate decisions, suggesting a differential requirement of H3K4me3 in different stem cell lineages. Altogether, our study provides a resource that will help to further dissect the networks underlying stem cell self-renewal.
Project description:Complex regulatory networks regulate stem cell behavior and contributions to tissue growth, repair, and homeostasis. A full understanding of the networks controlling stem cell self-renewal and differentiation, however, has not yet been realized. To systematically dissect these networks and identify their components, we performed an unbiased, transcriptome-wide in vivo RNAi screen in female Drosophila germline stem cells (GSCs). Based on characterized cellular defects, we classified 646 identified genes into phenotypic and functional groups and unveiled a comprehensive set of networks regulating GSC maintenance, survival, and differentiation. This analysis revealed an unexpected role for ribosomal assembly factors in controlling stem cell cytokinesis. Moreover, our data show that the transition from self-renewal to differentiation relies on enhanced ribosome biogenesis accompanied by increased protein synthesis. Collectively, these results detail the extensive genetic networks that control stem cell homeostasis and highlight the intricate regulation of protein synthesis during differentiation.
Project description:Steroid hormones are known systemic regulators of multiple normal and cancerous tissues; however, whether or how they impact the fate and function of adult stem cells is unclear. In the Drosophila ovary, insulin signals modulate the proliferation and self-renewal of germline stem cells (GSCs), yet despite evidence that additional systemic factors control GSC activity, these have remained largely unknown. Here, we report that ecdysone, a steroid hormone structurally related to mammalian sex steroids, directly regulates adult GSC proliferation and self-renewal independently of insulin signaling. Ecdysone controls GSCs through a functional interaction with the chromatin remodeling factors ISWI, an intrinsic epigenetic factor required for GSC fate and activity, and Nurf301, the largest subunit of the ISWI-containing NURF chromatin remodeling complex. Our findings support a link between systemic steroid hormones and the intrinsic chromatin remodeling machinery as a potential mechanism to promote broad transcriptional programs required for adult stem cell self-renewal.
Project description:In the Drosophila oogenesis, germline stem cells (GSCs) continuously self-renew and differentiate into daughter cells for consecutive germline lineage commitment. This developmental process has become an in vivo working platform for studying adult stem cell fate regulation. An increasing number of studies have shown that while concerted actions of extrinsic signals from the niche and intrinsic regulatory machineries control GSC self-renewal and germline differentiation, epigenetic regulation is implicated in the process. Here, we report that Brahma (Brm), the ATPase subunit of the Drosophila SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complexes, is required for maintaining GSC fate. Removal or knockdown of Brm function in either germline or niche cells causes a GSC loss, but does not disrupt normal germline differentiation within the germarium evidenced at the molecular and morphological levels. There are two Drosophila SWI/SNF complexes: the Brm-associated protein (BAP) complex and the polybromo-containing BAP (PBAP) complex. More genetic studies reveal that mutations in polybromo/bap180, rather than gene encoding Osa, the BAP complex-specific subunit, elicit a defect in GSC maintenance reminiscent of the brm mutant phenotype. Further genetic interaction test suggests a functional association between brm and polybromo in controlling GSC self-renewal. Taken together, studies in this paper provide the first demonstration that Brm in the form of the PBAP complex functions in the GSC fate regulation.
Project description:Adult stem cells are believed to be maintained by a specialized microenvironment, the niche, which provides short-range signals that either instruct stem cells to self-renew or inhibit execution of preprogrammed differentiation pathways. In Drosophila testes, somatic cyst stem cells (CySCs) and the apical hub form the niche for neighboring germline stem cells (GSCs), with CySCs as the proposed source of instructive self-renewal signals [Leatherman JL, Dinardo S (2010) Nat Cell Biol 12(8):806-811]. In contrast to this model, we show that early germ cells with GSC characteristics can be maintained over time after ablation of CySCs and their cyst cell progeny. Without CySCs and cyst cells, early germ cells away from the hub failed to initiate differentiation. Our results suggest that CySCs do not have a necessary instructive role in specifying GSC self-renewal and that the differentiated progeny of CySCs provide an environment necessary to trigger GSC differentiation. This work highlights the complex interaction between different stem cell populations in the same niche and how the state of one stem cell population can influence the fate of the other.
Project description:Epigenetic regulation plays critical roles in the regulation of cell proliferation, fate determination, and survival. It has been shown to control self-renewal and lineage differentiation of embryonic stem cells. However, epigenetic regulation of adult stem cell function remains poorly defined. Drosophila ovarian germline stem cells (GSCs) are a productive adult stem cell system for revealing regulatory mechanisms controlling self-renewal and differentiation. In this study, we show that Eggless (Egg), a H3K9 methyltransferase in Drosophila, is required in GSCs for controlling self-renewal and in escort cells for regulating germ cell differentiation. egg mutant ovaries primarily exhibit germ cell differentiation defects in young females and gradually lose GSCs with time, indicating that Egg regulates both germ cell maintenance and differentiation. Marked mutant egg GSCs lack expression of trimethylated H3K9 (H3k9me3) and are rapidly lost from the niche, but their mutant progeny can still differentiate into 16-cell cysts, indicating that Egg is required intrinsically to control GSC self-renewal but not differentiation. Interestingly, BMP-mediated transcriptional repression of differentiation factor bam in marked egg mutant GSCs remains normal, indicating that Egg is dispensable for BMP signaling in GSCs. Normally, Bam and Bgcn interact with each other to promote GSC differentiation. Interestingly, marked double mutant egg bgcn GSCs are still lost, but their progeny are able to differentiate into 16-cell cysts though bgcn mutant GSCs normally do not differentiate, indicating that Egg intrinsically controls GSC self-renewal through repressing a Bam/Bgcn-independent pathway. Surprisingly, RNAi-mediated egg knockdown in escort cells leads to their gradual loss and a germ cell differentiation defect. The germ cell differentiation defect is at least in part attributed to an increase in BMP signaling in the germ cell differentiation niche. Therefore, this study has revealed the essential roles of histone H3K9 trimethylation in controlling stem cell maintenance and differentiation through distinct mechanisms.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is a lethal brain tumor containing a subpopulation of glioma stem cells (GSC). Pan-cancer analyses have revealed that stemness of cancer cells correlates positively with immunosuppressive pathways in many solid tumors, including GBM, prompting us to conduct a gain-of-function screen of epigenetic regulators that may influence GSC self-renewal and tumor immunity. The circadian regulator CLOCK emerged as a top hit in enhancing stem-cell self-renewal, which was amplified in about 5% of human GBM cases. CLOCK and its heterodimeric partner BMAL1 enhanced GSC self-renewal and triggered protumor immunity via transcriptional upregulation of OLFML3, a novel chemokine recruiting immune-suppressive microglia into the tumor microenvironment. In GBM models, CLOCK or OLFML3 depletion reduced intratumoral microglia density and extended overall survival. We conclude that the CLOCK-BMAL1 complex contributes to key GBM hallmarks of GSC maintenance and immunosuppression and, together with its downstream target OLFML3, represents new therapeutic targets for this disease. SIGNIFICANCE: Circadian regulator CLOCK drives GSC self-renewal and metabolism and promotes microglia infiltration through direct regulation of a novel microglia-attracting chemokine, OLFML3. CLOCK and/or OLFML3 may represent novel therapeutic targets for GBM.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 327.
Project description:Cancer stem cells promote neoplastic growth, in part by deregulating asymmetric cell division and enhancing self-renewal. To uncover mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets in glioma stem cell (GSC) self-renewal, we performed a genetic suppressor screen for kinases to reverse the tumor phenotype of our Drosophila brain tumor model and identified dCdk5 as a critical regulator. CDK5, the human ortholog of dCdk5 (79% identity), is aberrantly activated in GBMs and tightly aligned with both chromosome 7 gains and stem cell markers affecting tumor-propagation. Our investigation revealed that pharmaceutical inhibition of CDK5 prevents GSC self-renewal in vitro and in xenografted tumors, at least partially by suppressing CREB1 activation independently of PKA/cAMP. Finally, our TCGA GBM data analysis revealed that CDK5, stem cell, and asymmetric cell division markers segregate within non-mesenchymal patient clusters, which may indicate preferential dependence on CDK5 signaling and sensitivity to its inhibition in this group.
Project description:PIWI proteins play essential roles in germ cells and stem cell lineages. In <i>Drosophila</i>, Piwi is required in somatic niche cells and germline stem cells (GSCs) to support GSC self-renewal and differentiation. Whether and how other PIWI proteins are involved in GSC biology remains unknown. Here, we show that Aubergine (Aub), another PIWI protein, is intrinsically required in GSCs for their self-renewal and differentiation. Aub needs to be loaded with piRNAs to control GSC self-renewal and acts through direct mRNA regulation. We identify the <i>Cbl</i> proto-oncogene, a regulator of mammalian hematopoietic stem cells, as a novel GSC differentiation factor. Aub stimulates GSC self-renewal by repressing <i>Cbl</i> mRNA translation and does so in part through recruitment of the CCR4-NOT complex. This study reveals the role of piRNAs and PIWI proteins in controlling stem cell homeostasis via translational repression and highlights piRNAs as major post-transcriptional regulators in key developmental decisions.
Project description:Developmental signal transduction pathways act diversely, with context-dependent roles across systems and disease types. Glioblastomas (GBMs), which are the poorest prognosis primary brain cancers, strongly resemble developmental systems, but these growth processes have not been exploited therapeutically, likely in part due to the extreme cellular and genetic heterogeneity observed in these tumors. The role of Wnt/βcatenin signaling in GBM stem cell (GSC) renewal and fate decisions remains controversial. Here, we report context-specific actions of Wnt/βcatenin signaling in directing cellular fate specification and renewal. A subset of primary GBM-derived stem cells requires Wnt proteins for self-renewal, and this subset specifically relies on Wnt/βcatenin signaling for enhanced tumor burden in xenograft models. In an orthotopic Wnt reporter model, Wnthi GBM cells (which exhibit high levels of βcatenin signaling) are a faster-cycling, highly self-renewing stem cell pool. In contrast, Wntlo cells (with low levels of signaling) are slower cycling and have decreased self-renewing potential. Dual inhibition of Wnt/βcatenin and Notch signaling in GSCs that express high levels of the proneural transcription factor ASCL1 leads to robust neuronal differentiation and inhibits clonogenic potential. Our work identifies new contexts for Wnt modulation for targeting stem cell differentiation and self-renewal in GBM heterogeneity, which deserve further exploration therapeutically.
Project description:Translational regulation plays an essential role in Drosophila ovarian germline stem cell (GSC) biology. GSC self-renewal requires two translational repressors, Nanos (Nos) and Pumilio (Pum), which repress the expression of differentiation factors in the stem cells. The molecular mechanisms underlying this translational repression remain unknown. Here, we show that the CCR4 deadenylase is required for GSC self-renewal and that Nos and Pum act through its recruitment onto specific mRNAs. We identify mei-P26 mRNA as a direct and major target of Nos/Pum/CCR4 translational repression in the GSCs. mei-P26 encodes a protein of the Trim-NHL tumor suppressor family that has conserved functions in stem cell lineages. We show that fine-tuning Mei-P26 expression by CCR4 plays a key role in GSC self-renewal. These results identify the molecular mechanism of Nos/Pum function in GSC self-renewal and reveal the role of CCR4-NOT-mediated deadenylation in regulating the balance between GSC self-renewal and differentiation.