Special Focus: Stem Cells
Genetic mechanisms regulating stem cell self-renewal and differentiation in the central nervous system of Drosophila
Volume 3, Issue 4
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Pages 402 - 411http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cam.3.4.8690
Authors: Dongwook W. Kim and Frank Hirth View affiliations
Recent studies using the Drosophila central nervous system as a model have identified key molecules and mechanisms underlying stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. These studies suggest that proteins like Aurora-A, atypical protein kinase C, Prospero and Brain tumor act as key regulators in a tightly coordinated interplay between mitotic spindle orientation and asymmetric protein localisation. These data also provide initial evidence that both processes are coupled to cell cycle progression and growth control, thereby regulating a binary switch between proliferative stem self-renewal and differentiative progenitor cell specification. Considering the evolutionary conservation of some of the mechanisms and molecules involved, these data provide a rationale and genetic model for understanding stem cell self-renewal and differentiation in general. The new data gained in Drosophila may therefore lead to conceptual advancements in understanding the aetiology and treatment of human neurological disorders such as brain tumor formation and neurodegenerative diseases.
Received: March 10, 2009; Accepted: April 7, 2009