Bam and Bgcn antagonize Nanos-dependent germ-line stem cell maintenance

Yun Li, Nicole T. Minor, Joseph K. Park, Dennis M. McKearin, Jean Z. Maines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


The balance between germ-line stem cell (GSC) self-renewal and differentiation in Drosophila ovaries is mediated by the antagonistic relationship between the Nanos (Nos)-Pumilio translational repressor complex, which promotes GSC self-renewal, and expression of Bam, a key differentiation factor. Here, we find that Bam and Nos proteins are expressed in reciprocal patterns in young germ cells. Repression of Nos in Bam-expressing cells depends on sequences in the nos 3′-UTR, suggesting that Nos is regulated by translational repression. Ectopic Bam causes differentiation of GSCs, and this activity depends on the endogenous nos 3′-UTR sequence. Previous evidence showed that Bgcn is an obligate factor for the ability of Bam to drive differentiation, and we now report that Bam forms a complex with Bgcn, a protein related to the RNA-interacting DExH-box polypeptides. Together, these observations suggest that Bam-Bgcn act together to antagonize Nos expression; thus, derepressing cystoblast-promoting factors. These findings emphasize the importance of translational repression in balancing stem cell self-renewal and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9304-9309
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 9 2009


  • Drosophila
  • Germ cell
  • Oogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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