Escargot controls somatic stem cell maintenance through the attenuation of the insulin receptor pathway in Drosophila

Cell Rep. 2022 Apr 19;39(3):110679. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110679.


Adult stem cells coordinate intrinsic and extrinsic, local and systemic, cues to maintain the proper balance between self-renewal and differentiation. However, the precise mechanisms stem cells use to integrate these signals remain elusive. Here, we show that Escargot (Esg), a member of the Snail family of transcription factors, regulates the maintenance of somatic cyst stem cells (CySCs) in the Drosophila testis by attenuating the activity of the pro-differentiation insulin receptor (InR) pathway. Esg positively regulates the expression of an antagonist of insulin signaling, ImpL2, while also attenuating the expression of InR. Furthermore, Esg-mediated repression of the InR pathway is required to suppress CySC loss in response to starvation. Given the conservation of Snail-family transcription factors, characterizing the mechanisms by which Esg regulates cell-fate decisions during homeostasis and a decline in nutrient availability is likely to provide insight into the metabolic regulation of stem cell behavior in other tissues and organisms.

Keywords: CP: Developmental biology; CP: Stem cell research; Drosophila; ImpL2; InR; cyst stem cells; escargot; insulin; metabolism; testis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins* / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins* / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism
  • Testis
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • ImpL2 protein, Drosophila
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Receptor, Insulin