Drosophila ataxin 2-binding protein 1 marks an intermediate step in the molecular differentiation of female germline cysts.
Tastan OY., Maines JZ., Li Y., McKearin DM., Buszczak M.
In the Drosophila ovary, extrinsic signaling from the niche and intrinsic translational control machinery regulate the balance between germline stem cell maintenance and the differentiation of their daughters. However, the molecules that promote the continued stepwise development of ovarian germ cells after their exit from the niche remain largely unknown. Here, we report that the early development of germline cysts depends on the Drosophila homolog of the human ataxin 2-binding protein 1 (A2BP1) gene. Drosophila A2BP1 protein expression is first observed in the cytoplasm of 4-, 8- and 16-cell cysts, bridging the expression of the early differentiation factor Bam with late markers such as Orb, Rbp9 and Bruno encoded by arrest. The expression of A2BP1 is lost in bam, sans-fille (snf) and mei-P26 mutants, but is still present in other mutants such as rbp9 and arrest. A2BP1 alleles of varying strength produce mutant phenotypes that include germline counting defects and cystic tumors. Phenotypic analysis reveals that strong A2BP1 alleles disrupt the transition from mitosis to meiosis. These mutant cells continue to express high levels of mitotic cyclins and fail to express markers of terminal differentiation. Biochemical analysis reveals that A2BP1 isoforms bind to each other and associate with Bruno, a known translational repressor protein. These data show that A2BP1 promotes the molecular differentiation of ovarian germline cysts.