Whole-animal genome-wide RNAi screen identifies networks regulating male germline stem cells in Drosophila

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Abstract

© The Author(s) 2016. Stem cells are regulated both intrinsically and externally, including by signals from the local environment and distant organs. To identify genes and pathways that regulate stem-cell fates in the whole organism, we perform a genome-wide transgenic RNAi screen through ubiquitous gene knockdowns, focusing on regulators of adult Drosophila testis germline stem cells (GSCs). Here we identify 530 genes that regulate GSC maintenance and differentiation. Of these, we further knock down 113 selected genes using cell-type-specific Gal4s and find that more than half were external regulators, that is, from the local microenvironment or more distal sources. Some genes, for example, versatile (vers), encoding a heterochromatin protein, regulates GSC fates differentially in different cell types and through multiple pathways. We also find that mitosis/cytokinesis proteins are especially important for male GSC maintenance. Our findings provide valuable insights and resources for studying stem cell regulation at the organismal level.

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Liu, Y., Ge, Q., Chan, B., Liu, H., Singh, S. R., Manley, J., … Hou, S. X. (2016). Whole-animal genome-wide RNAi screen identifies networks regulating male germline stem cells in Drosophila. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12149

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