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Centromere function in Drosophila germline stem cells [IRB Research Nodes Seminar]

12 May 21

Speaker: Dr. Elaine Dunleavy

SFI-PIYRA Awardee / Centre for Chromosome Biology, Biochemistry, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland




Host: Ferran Azorin

Organizer: Cell Pathophysiology Node

Date: Wednesday 12 May 2021, 12.00h



Stem cells can divide in an asymmetric fashion giving rise to two daughter cells with different fates. One daughter remains a stem cell, while the other can differentiate and adopt a new cell fate. Germline stem cells (GSCs) in the testes and ovaries give rise to differentiating daughter cells that eventually form the gametes, eggs and sperm. In my laboratory, we investigate mechanisms controlling germline stem cell divisions occurring in the ovary and testes of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Centromeres are epigenetically specified loci on chromosomes that make essential connections to the cell division machinery. In this talk I will present our recent data on the centromere component CENP-C and its function in female GSCs. We show that CENP-C is critical for the correct assembly of centromeres that occurs prior to cell division in GSCs. In addition, we find that CENP-C is asymmetrically distributed between stem and daughter cells, with more CENP-C at stem cell centromeres. Finally, we show that CENP-C depletion in GSCs disrupts the balance of stem and daughter cells in the developing ovary, impacting on cell fate. Taken together, we propose that CENP-C level and function at centromeres plays an important role in determining cell fate upon asymmetric division occurring in stem cells.