Published on Sat Aug 14 2021

me31B regulates stem cell homeostasis by preventing excess dedifferentiation in the Drosophila male germline.

Lindy Jensen, Zsolt G Venkei, George J Watase, Bitarka Bisai, Scott Pletcher, Cheng-Yu Lee, Yukiko M Yamashita

Tissue-specific stem cells maintain tissue homeostasis by providing a continuous supply of differentiated cells throughout the life of organisms. Differentiated/differentiating cells can revert back to a stem cell identity via dedifferentiation to help maintain the stem cell pool beyond the lifetime of individual stem cells. Although dedifferentiation is important for maintaining the stem cell population, it is speculated that it underlies tumorigenesis. Therefore, this process must be tightly controlled. Here, we show that a translational regulator, me31B, plays a critical role in preventing excess dedifferentiation in the Drosophila male germline: in the absence of me31B, spermatogonia dedifferentiate into germline stem cells (GSCs) at a dramatically elevated frequency. Our results show that the excess dedifferentiation is likely due to misregulation of nos, a key regulator of germ cell identity and GSC maintenance. Taken together, our data reveal negative regulation of dedifferentiation to balance stem cell maintenance with differentiation.