In a variety of tissues in eukaryotes, multipotential stem cells are responsible for maintaining a germinal population and generating a differentiated progeny. The Drosophila germline is one such tissue where a continuous supply of eggs or sperm relies on the normal functioning of stem cells. Recent studies have implicated a possible role for the posterior determinant gene nanos (nos) in stem cells. Here, I report that nanos is required in the Drosophila female germline as well as in the male germline. In the female, nos is required for the functioning of stem cells. In nos mutants, while the stem cells are specified, these cells divide only a few times at the most and then degenerate. The loss of germline stem cells in nos mutant mothers appears to be due to a progressive degeneration of the plasma membrane. Furthermore, following germ cell loss, the germaria in the nos mutant mothers appear to carry on massive mitochondrial biogenesis activity. Thus, the syncytia of such germaria are filled with mitochondria. In the male germline, the male fertility assay indicates that nos appears to be also required for the maintenance of stem cells. In these mutant males, spermatogenesis is progressively affected and these males eventually become sterile. These results indicate novel requirements for nos in the Drosophila germline.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||14|
|State||Published - Apr 1999|
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