Asymmetric segregation of damaged proteins (DPs) during mitosis has been linked in yeast and bacteria to the protection of one cell from aging. Recent evidence suggests that stem cells may use a similar mechanism; however, to date there is no in vivo evidence demonstrating this effect in healthy adult stem cells. We report that stem cells in larval (neuroblast) and adult (female germline and intestinal stem cell) Drosophila melanogaster asymmetrically segregate DPs, such as proteins with the difficult-to-degrade and age-associated 2,4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) modification. Surprisingly, of the cells analyzed only the intestinal stem cell protects itself by segregating HNE to differentiating progeny, whereas the neuroblast and germline stem cells retain HNE during division. This led us to suggest that chronological life span, and not cell type, determines the amount of DPs a cell receives during division. Furthermore, we reveal a role for both niche-dependent and -independent mechanisms of asymmetric DP division.
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