Authors: Diego Sainz de la Maza, Silvana Hof-Michel, Lee Phillimore, Christian Bökel, Marc Amoyel


  • Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, UK
  • Department of Developmental Genetics, Philipps University Marburg, Germany

Publication: Cell

Date: May, 2022

Link: Cell-cycle exit and stem cell differentiation are coupled through regulation of mitochondrial activity in the Drosophila testis


Whereas stem and progenitor cells proliferate to maintain tissue homeostasis, fully differentiated cells exit the cell cycle. How cell identity and cell-cycle state are coordinated during differentiation is still poorly understood. The Drosophila testis niche supports germline stem cells and somatic cyst stem cells (CySCs). CySCs give rise to post-mitotic cyst cells, providing a tractable model to study the links between stem cell identity and proliferation. We show that, while cell-cycle progression is required for CySC self-renewal, the E2f1/Dp transcription factor is dispensable for self-renewal but instead must be silenced by the Drosophila retinoblastoma homolog, Rbf, to permit differentiation. Continued E2f1/Dp activity inhibits the expression of genes important for mitochondrial activity. Furthermore, promoting mitochondrial biogenesis rescues the differentiation of CySCs with ectopic E2f1/Dp activity but not their cell-cycle exit. In sum, E2f1/Dp coordinates cell-cycle progression with stem cell identity by regulating the metabolic state of CySCs.