Soma regulates germline differentiation

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Science  01 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6281, pp. 49-50
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6281.49-b

In the Drosophila ovary, germline stem cells (GSCs) generate a cystoblast containing 16 cells, only one of which becomes an oocyte. Somatic cells adjacent to germ cells influence cystoblast proliferation and differentiation. Upadhyay et al. show that the histone methyltransferase dSETDB1, located in escort cells that nurture the cystoblast, promotes differentiation and controls GSCs through the signaling factor dWnt4, which in turn regulates adherens junction proteins in escort cells to promote cystoblast encapsulation and differentiation. Parallel to this pathway, transposable elements also regulate dWnt4 for CB encapsulation and differentiation. Hence, germ cells are influenced by surrounding somatic cells, and this work links the somatically expressed histone modifier and transposon to Wnt molecule activity for cell differentiation.

PLOS.Genet. 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005918 (2016).

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