Neurotransmitter links mating to stem-cell proliferation
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The series of events triggered when fruit flies mate and that culminates in the proliferation of germline stem cells in the female’s ovaries has been traced for the first time.
Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into a wide range of specialized cells, and they play a key role in the development and maintenance of tissues. However, the ways that environmental cues trigger stem-cell activity are not well understood.
Now, a team led by researchers at Tsukuba University has shown that mating triggers the release of the neurotransmitter octopamine from neurons in the fruit-fly ovary, which increases calcium signaling between cells next to germline stem cells. This signalling boosts the number of germline stem cells via the protein matrix metalloproteinase 2.
Since octopamine is the insect equivalent of noradrenaline in mammals, this fruit-fly mechanism could illuminate how neurotransmitters activate stems cells in other animals.
- eLife 9, e57101 (2020). doi: 10.7554/eLife.57101