Nat Commun. 2023 Oct 23;14(1):6737. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-42496-9
Metabolic regulation of proteome stability via N-terminal acetylation controls male germline stem cell differentiation and reproduction
Charlotte M François1, Thomas Pihl1, Marion Dunoyer de Segonzac1, Chloé Hérault1, Bruno Hudry2
1,2Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, Inserm, iBV, Nice, France.
The molecular mechanisms connecting cellular metabolism with differentiation remain poorly understood. Here, we find that metabolic signals contribute to stem cell differentiation and germline homeostasis during Drosophila melanogaster spermatogenesis. We discovered that external citrate, originating outside the gonad, fuels the production of Acetyl-coenzyme A by germline ATP-citrate lyase (dACLY). We show that this pathway is essential during the final spermatogenic stages, where a high Acetyl-coenzyme A level promotes NatB-dependent N-terminal protein acetylation. Using genetic and biochemical experiments, we establish that N-terminal acetylation shields key target proteins, essential for spermatid differentiation, from proteasomal degradation by the ubiquitin ligase dUBR1. Our work uncovers crosstalk between metabolism and proteome stability that is mediated via protein post-translational modification. We propose that this system coordinates the metabolic state of the organism with gamete production. More broadly, modulation of proteome turnover by circulating metabolites may be a conserved regulatory mechanism to control cell functions.