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Characterization of histone inheritance patterns in the Drosophila female germline

By Xin Chen, Elizabeth W Kahney, Lydia Sohn, Kayla Viets-Layng, Robert J. Johnston

Posted 19 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.18.255455

Stem cells have the unique ability to undergo asymmetric division which produces two daughter cells that are genetically identical, but commit to different cell fates. The loss of this balanced asymmetric outcome can lead to many diseases, including cancer and tissue dystrophy. Understanding this tightly regulated process is crucial in developing methods to treat these abnormalities. Here, we report that produced from a Drosophila female germline stem cell asymmetric division, the two daughter cells differentially inherit histones at key genes related to either maintaining the stem cell state or promoting differentiation, but not at constitutively active or silenced genes. We combined histone labeling with DNA Oligopaints to distinguish old versus new histone distribution and visualize their inheritance patterns at single-gene resolution in asymmetrically dividing cells in vivo. This strategy can be widely applied to other biological contexts involving cell fate establishment during development or tissue homeostasis in multicellular organisms.

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