Heparan sulfate regulates the number and centrosome positioning of Drosophila male germline stem cells

Daniel C. Levings, Takeshi Arashiro, Hiroshi Nakato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Stem cell division is tightly controlled via secreted signaling factors and cell adhesion molecules provided from local niche structures. Molecular mechanisms by which each niche component regulates stem cell behaviors remain to be elucidated. Here we show that heparan sulfate (HS), a class of glycosaminoglycan chains, regulates the number and asymmetric division of germline stem cells (GSCs) in the Drosophila testis. We found that GSC number is sensitive to the levels of 6-O sulfate groups on HS. Loss of 6-O sulfation also disrupted normal positioning of centrosomes, a process required for asymmetric division of GSCs. Blocking HS sulfation specifically in the niche, termed the hub, led to increased GSC numbers and mispositioning of centrosomes. The same treatment also perturbed the enrichment of Apc2, a component of the centrosome-anchoring machinery, at the hubGSC interface. This perturbation of the centrosome-anchoring process ultimately led to an increase in the rate of spindle misorientation and symmetric GSC division. This study shows that specific HS modifications provide a novel regulatory mechanism for stem cell asymmetric division. The results also suggest that HS-mediated niche signaling acts upstream of GSC division orientation control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)888-896
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Levings et al.


Dive into the research topics of 'Heparan sulfate regulates the number and centrosome positioning of Drosophila male germline stem cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this