How are stem cells affected by their surrounding?
This simple question is what Dr. Xin Chen, associate professor of biology at Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences has, alongside six co-authors from her lab, sought to answer in a new manuscript published this week in Cell Reports.
By studying the aminopeptidase Slamdance (Sda) acts in the Drosophila testicular niche, the authors discovered that sda acts to both maintain germline stem cells (GSCs) and regulate progenitor germ cell dedifferentiation.
Earlier, the authors had reported that the role of sda is significant in the niche: loss-of-function in sda leads to abnormalities in the testis niche, including deterioration of the niche architecture and loss of stem cells.
This makes it critical, as a niche-specific factor, for both germline and cyst stem cell maintenance.
However, questions arise about how the niche itself is regulated and, moreover, how this knowledge can be used to direct stem cell fate.
Ultimately, the authors do concede that further work is necessary to elucidate such mechanisms which might provide some clinical efficacy.
The full paper can be accessed here.