Ribosomal defects perturb stem cell differentiation, and this is the cause of ribosomopathies. How ribosome levels control stem cell differentiation is not fully known. Here, we discover that three DExD/H-box proteins govern ribosome biogenesis (RiBi) and Drosophila oogenesis. Loss of these DExD/H-box proteins, which we name Aramis, Athos, and Porthos, aberrantly stabilizes p53, arrests the cell cycle, and stalls germline stem cell (GSC) differentiation. Aramis controls cell-cycle progression by regulating translation of mRNAs that contain a terminal oligo pyrimidine (TOP) motif in their 5′ UTRs. We find that TOP motifs confer sensitivity to ribosome levels that are mediated by La-related protein (Larp). One such TOP-containing mRNA codes for novel nucleolar protein 1 (Non1), a conserved p53 destabilizing protein. Upon a sufficient ribosome concentration, Non1 is expressed, and it promotes GSC cell-cycle progression via p53 degradation. Thus, a previously unappreciated TOP motif in Drosophila responds to reduced RiBi to co-regulate the translation of ribosomal proteins and a p53 repressor, coupling RiBi to GSC differentiation.
- germline stem cells
- ribosome biogenesis