B2: Towards a mechanistic and macro-evolutionary understanding of adult stem cell control
Stem cell regulation relies on intrinsic signals, but also on inputs emanating from the neighbouring niche. Having identified a substantial number of testis-specific Hox-dependent genes, we will use the Drosophila male stem cell niche as a model system to study the coordination of these events under the control of Hox genes. We will analyze the role of Hox genes and of selected Hox downstream genes, such as zfh-1, their regulation in time and space and potential interactions within the male stem cell niche. Finally, we will compare Zfh-1 to the plant stem cell regulator WUSCHEL, which shares a similar homeodomain, and thereby elucidate conserved and divergent mechanisms of stem cell control in plants and animals.