In many adult tissues, homeostasis relies on self-renewing stem cells that are primed for differentiation. The reconciliation mechanisms of these characteristics remain a fundamental question in stem cell biology. We propose that regulation at the post-transcriptional level is essential for homeostasis in murine spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). Here, we show that Nanos2, an evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding protein, works with other cellular messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) components to ensure the primitive status of SSCs through a dual mechanism that involves (1) direct recruitment and translational repression of genes that promote spermatogonial differentiation and (2) repression of the target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a well-known negative pathway for SSC self-renewal, by sequestration of the core factor mTOR in mRNPs. This mechanism links mRNA turnover to mTORC1 signaling through Nanos2-containing mRNPs and establishes a post-transcriptional buffering system to facilitate SSC homeostasis in the fluctuating environment within the seminiferous tubule.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.