Mitochondria-enriched protrusions are associated with brain and intestinal stem cells in Drosophila.
Brain stem cells stop dividing in late Drosophila embryos and begin dividing again in early larvae after feeding induces reactivation. Quiescent neural stem cells (qNSCs) display an unusual cytoplasmic protrusion that is no longer present in reactivated NSCs. The protrusions join the qNSCs to the neuropil, brain regions that are thought to maintain NSCs in an undifferentiated state, but the function of the protrusions is not known. Here we show that qNSC protrusions contain clustered mitochondria that are likely maintained in position by slow forward-and-backward microtubule growth. Larvae treated with a microtubule-stabilizing drug show bundled microtubules and enhanced mitochondrial clustering in NSCs, together with reduced qNSC reactivation. We further show that intestinal stem cells contain mitochondria-enriched protrusions. The qNSC and intestinal stem-cell protrusions differ from previously reported cytoplasmic extensions by forming stem-cell-to-niche mitochondrial bridges that could potentially both silence genes and sense signals from the stem cell niche.
Endow, SA; Miller, SE; Ly, PT
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