LEM domain (LEM-D) proteins are components of an extensive protein network that assembles beneath the inner nuclear envelope. Defects in LEM-D proteins cause tissue-restricted human diseases associated with altered stem cell homeostasis. Otefin (Ote) is a Drosophila LEM-D protein that is intrinsically required for female germline stem cell (GSC) maintenance. Previous studies linked Ote loss with transcriptional activation of the key differentiation gene bag-of-marbles (bam), leading to the model in which Ote tethers the bam gene to the nuclear periphery for gene silencing. Using genetic and phenotypic analyses of multiple ote(-/-) backgrounds, we obtained evidence that is inconsistent with this model. We show that bam repression is maintained in ote(-/-) GSCs and that germ cell loss persists in ote(-/-), bam(-/-) mutants, together demonstrating that GSC loss is independent of bam transcription. We show that the primary defect in ote(-/-) GSCs is a block of differentiation, which ultimately leads to germ cell death.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.