Specification of regional intestinal stem cell identity during Drosophila metamorphosis

Ian Driver, Benjamin Ohlstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In the adult Drosophila midgut the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway is required to specify and maintain the acid-secreting region of the midgut known as the copper cell region (CCR). BMP signaling is also involved in the modulation of intestinal stem cell (ISC) proliferation in response to injury. How ISCs are able to respond to the same signaling pathway in a regionally different manner is currently unknown. Here, we show that dual use of the BMP signaling pathway in the midgut is possible because BMP signals are only capable of transforming ISC and enterocyte identity during a defined window of metamorphosis. ISC heterogeneity is established prior to adulthood and then maintained in cooperation with regional signals from surrounding tissue. Our data provide a conceptual framework for how other tissues maintained by regional stem cells might be patterned and establishes the pupal and adult midgut as a novel genetic platform for identifying genes necessary for regional stem cell specification and maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1848-1856
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Copper cells
  • Drosophila
  • Heterogeneity
  • Intestine
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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