Peer Reviewed/Refereed Publication
Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology
Membraneless RNA-protein granules play important roles in many different cell types and organisms. In particular, granules found in germ cells have been used as a paradigm to study large and dynamic granules. These germ granules contain RNA and proteins required for germline development. Here, we unexpectedly identify large granules in specific subtypes of glial cells (“glial granules”) of the adult Drosophila brain which contain polypeptides with previously characterized roles in germ cells including scaffold Tudor, Vasa, Polar granule component and Piwi family proteins. Interestingly, our super-resolution microscopy analysis shows that in the glial granules, these proteins form distinct partially overlapping clusters. Furthermore, we show that glial granule scaffold protein Tudor functions in silencing of transposable elements and in small regulatory piRNA biogenesis. Remarkably, our data indicate that the adult brain contains a small population of cells, which express both neuroblast and germ cell proteins. These distinct cells are evolutionarily conserved and expand during aging suggesting the existence of age-dependent signaling. Our work uncovers previously unknown glial granules and indicates the involvement of their components in the regulation of brain transcriptome.
Tindell, S.J., Rouchka, E.C. & Arkov, A.L. Glial granules contain germline proteins in the Drosophila brain, which regulate brain transcriptome. Commun Biol 3, 699 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01432-z
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