Importin α1 plays an essential role in germline stem cell maintenance in the Drosophila testes
AuthorHeaney, James Ronald
AffiliationAnatomy and Neuroscience
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2020-07-17. This item is currently available to University of Melbourne staff and students only, login required.
© 2018 Dr. James Ronald Heaney
The Drosophila testis maintains two stem cell populations at the apical tip, the germline stem cells and the cyst progenitor cells. 10-12 germline stem cells are arranged around the hub cells, a group of somatic cells responsible for maintaining the stem cell niche via expression of short range factors which promote self renewal and allow asymmetric cell division. A balance must be maintained between self renewal and differentiation to ensure the maintenance of the stem cells and production of mature spermatozoa. Spermatogenesis is a complex process requiring precise regulation to progress through the numerous stages required to produce viable spermatozoa. Importin α proteins act as adaptors between Importin β and target proteins to permit import of these target proteins. Metazoan genomes contain multiple Importin α proteins which have arisen due to multiple gene duplications and the different importin α genes show unique expression patterns during spermatogenesis in both Drosophila and mouse testes. It has been hypothesised that regulating importin α expression can drive the progression through the different stages of spermatogenesis through the targeted nuclear transport of different subsets of proteins into the nucleus. This project aims to investigate the role Importin α1 plays during spermatogenesis. It has been previously demonstrated that importin α1 null males are viable but sterile, the cause of this sterility remains unknown. To further investigate the role of Importin α1 during spermatogenesis I performed in-depth characterization of importin α1 null testes. I generated and characterised an importin α1 dominant negative transgene and used this transgene to screen for nuclear proteins that have their transport regulated by Importin α1. In this project I have shown that importin α1 is essential for the maintenance of germline stem cells in Drosophila testes and identified a potential target protein regulated by Importin α1 in spermatogonia.
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