Stem cells divide asymmetrically, regenerating a parental stem cell and giving rise to a daughter cell with a distinct fate. In many stem cell lineages, this daughter cell undergoes several amplificatory mitoses, thus generating more cells that embark on the differentiation program specific for the given lineage. Spermatogenesis in Drosophila is a model system to identify molecules regulating stem cell lineages. Mutations at two previously identified loci, bag-of-marbles (bam) and benign gonial cell neoplasm (bgcn), prevent progression through spermatogenesis and oogenesis, resulting in the overproliferation of undifferentiated germ cells. Here we investigate how bam and bgcn regulate the male germline stem cell lineage. By generating FLP-mediated clones, we demonstrate that both bam and bgcn act autonomously in the germline to restrict proliferation during spermatogenesis. By using enhancer trap lines, we find that the overproliferating germ cells express markers specific to amplifying germ cells, while at the same time retaining the expression of some markers of stem cell and primary spermatogonial cell fate. However, we find that germ cells accumulating in bam or bgcn mutant testes most resemble amplifying germ cells, because they undergo incomplete cytokinesis and progress through the cell cycle in synchrony within a cyst, which are two characteristics of amplifying germ cells, but not of stem cells. Taken together, our results suggest that bam and bgcn regulate progression through the male germline stem cell lineage by cell-intrinsically restricting the proliferation of amplifying germ cells.

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