NAC-mediated ribosome localization regulates cell fate and metabolism in intestinal stem cells

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Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) face the challenge of integrating metabolic demands with unique regenerative functions. Studies have shown an intricate interplay between metabolism and stem cell capacity, however it is still not understood how this process is regulated. Combining ribosome profiling and CRISPR screening in intestinal organoids, we show that RNA translation is at the root of this interplay. We identify the nascent polypeptide-associated complex (NAC) as a key mediator of this process, and show that it regulates ISC metabolism by relocalizing ribosomes to the mitochondria. Upon NAC inhibition, intestinal cells show decreased import of mitochondrial proteins, which are needed for oxidative phosphorylation, and, consequently, enable the cell to maintain a stem cell identity. Furthermore, we show that overexpression of NACα is sufficient to drive mitochondrial respiration and promote ISC identity. Ultimately, our results reveal the pivotal role of ribosome localization in regulating mitochondrial metabolism and ISC function.


The location of ribosomes in cells is regulated, and defines the fate of intestinal stem cells.

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