Investigation of Notch signalling in Drosophila germline stem cell niche

  • Alessandro Bonfini

    Student thesis: Phd


    Adult stem cells are vital for tissue maintenance. Stem cell over proliferation results in tumour formation, whilst loss of stem cells causes tissue degeneration and a variety of diseases. Stem cell maintenance and proliferation is regulated through somatic structures called niches. The germline stem cell niche in Drosophila ovary has been well defined and it is useful to better understand the interactions between niche and stem cells. Notch signalling is needed for germline stem cell niche creation and maintenance. The aim of this thesis is to better understand both the regulation of Notch signalling during development and its requirement in the adult niche. The first paper, "Reversible regulation of stem cell niche size through dietary control of Notch signalling", revolves around the dynamicity of the niche. The niche is found to respond to diet stimuli and has the ability to be restored. Notch was previously found to be involved in the maintenance of the niche. We found that Notch signalling is altered by diet, and we dissect its different maintenance and recovery roles in the ovary. In the second paper, "ZO-1 controls stem cell niche assembly by acting as an upstream regulator of Deltex-dependent Notch signalling", we show how Notch signalling is finely regulated during niche formation through interplay with the proteins Polychaetoid and Deltex. This paper leads to a better understanding of how the niche is assembled and how Notch signalling is regulated in a context-dependent way. The obtained results from both papers will help understand the dynamics of the model germline stem cell niche, and how Notch signalling is found at the convergence between internal and external stimuli regulating the ovary's response to a changing environment.
    Date of Award31 Dec 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorMartin Baron (Supervisor)


    • Ovaries
    • Drosophila
    • Stem Cell Niche
    • Notch
    • Nutrition

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