OMA-1 is a P granules-associated protein that is required for germline specification in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos

Genes Cells. 2006 Apr;11(4):383-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2006.00945.x.


In Caenorhabditis elegans, CCCH-type zinc-finger proteins have been shown to be involved in the differentiation of germ cells during embryonic development. Previously, we and others have identified novel redundant CCCH-type zinc-finger proteins, OMA-1 and OMA-2, that are involved in oocyte maturation. In this study, we report that the cytoplasmic expression level of OMA-1 protein was largely reduced after fertilization. In contrast to its cytoplasmic degradation, OMA-1 was found to accumulate exclusively on P granules in germline blastomeres during embryogenesis. A notable finding is that embryos with partially suppressed oma-1; oma-2 expression showed inappropriate germline specification, including abnormal distributions of PGL-1, MEX-1 and PIE-1 proteins. Thus, our results suggest that oma gene products are novel multifunctional proteins that participate in crucial processes for germline specification during embryonic development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / physiology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • Embryonic Development / physiology
  • Fertilization / physiology
  • Germ Cells / physiology
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • OMA-1 protein, C elegans
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • mex-1 protein, C elegans
  • oma-2 protein, C elegans