In the Drosophila ovary, germline stem cell (GSC) self-renewal is controlled by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. The Bmp signal from niche cells controls GSC self-renewal by directly repressing a Bam-dependent differentiation pathway in GSCs. pelota ( pelo ), which has been previously shown to be required for Drosophila male meiosis, was identified in our genetic screen as a dominant suppressor of the dpp overexpression-induced GSC tumor phenotype. In this study, we reveal the unexpected new role of Pelo in controlling GSC self-renewal by repressing a Bam-independent differentiation pathway. In pelo mutant ovaries, GSCs are lost rapidly owing to differentiation. Results from genetic mosaic analysis and germ cell-specific rescue show that it functions as an intrinsic factor to control GSC self-renewal. In pelo mutant GSCs, Bmp signaling activity detected by Dad-lacZ expression is downregulated,but bam expression is still repressed. Furthermore, bam mutant germ cells are still able to differentiate into cystocytes without pelo function, indicating that Pelo is involved in repressing a Bam-independent differentiation pathway. Consistent with its homology to the eukaryotic translation release factor 1α, we show that Pelo is localized to the cytoplasm of the GSC. Therefore, Pelo controls GSC self-renewal by repressing a Bam-independent differentiation pathway possibly through regulating translation. As Pelo is highly conserved from Drosophila to mammals, it may also be involved in the regulation of adult stem cell self-renewal in mammals, including humans.