Cell competition is a conserved mechanism that regulates organ size and shares properties with the early stages of cancer. In Drosophila, wing cells with increased Myc or with optimum ribosome function become supercompetitors that kill their wild-type neighbors (called losers) up to several cell diameters away. Here, we report that modulating STAT activity levels regulates competitor status. Cells lacking STAT become losers that are killed by neighboring wild-type cells. By contrast, cells with hyper-activated STAT become supercompetitors that kill losers located at a distance in a manner that is dependent on hid but independent of Myc, Yorkie, Wingless signaling, and of ribosome biogenesis. These results indicate that STAT, Wingless and Myc are major parallel regulators of cell competition, which may converge on signals that non-autonomously kill losers. As hyper-activated STATs are causal to tumorigenesis and stem cell niche occupancy, our results have therapeutic implications for cancer and regenerative medicine.
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