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JAK-STAT Signal Inhibition Regulates Competition in the Drosophila Testis Stem Cell Niche

Science  02 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5949, pp. 153-156
DOI: 10.1126/science.1176817

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Stemming Stem Cell Displacement

Adult stem cell niches can contain multiple types of stem cells with coordinated regulation, but the mechanisms for these interactions are largely unknown. In the fruit fly testis, Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling is needed for the maintenance of the resident germline and somatic stem cells. The signaling inhibitor SOCS36E is a known JAK-STAT target. Issigonis et al. (p. 153) now show that SOCS36E functions in the maintenance of the germline stem cell via suppression of JAK-STAT signaling, specifically in the somatic stem cells. This prevents the somatic stem cells from displacing neighboring germline stem cells in an integrin-dependent manner, allowing both stem cell populations to occupy the niche.

Abstract

Adult stem cells often reside in local microenvironments, or niches. Although niches can contain multiple types of stem cells, the coordinate regulation of stem cell behavior is poorly understood. In the Drosophila testis, Janus kinase–signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling is directly required for maintenance of the resident germline and somatic stem cells. We found that the JAK-STAT signaling target and inhibitor Suppressor of cytokine signaling 36E (SOCS36E) is required for germline stem cell maintenance. SOCS36E suppresses JAK-STAT signaling specifically in the somatic stem cells, preventing them from displacing neighboring germline stem cells in a manner that depends on the adhesion protein integrin. Thus, in niches housing multiple stem cell types, negative feedback loops can modulate signaling, preventing one stem cell population from outcompeting the other.

  • * Present address: Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 232 Stemmler Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  • Present address: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Chicago, 929 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.

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