Alterations in ribosome biogenesis cause specific defects in C. elegans hermaphrodite gonadogenesis

Dev Biol. 2006 Oct 1;298(1):45-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.06.011. Epub 2006 Jun 8.


Ribosome biogenesis is a cell-essential process that influences cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation. How ribosome biogenesis impacts development, however, is poorly understood. Here, we establish a link between ribosome biogenesis and gonadogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans that affects germline proliferation and patterning. Previously, we determined that pro-1(+)activity is required in the soma--specifically, the sheath/spermatheca sublineage--to promote normal proliferation and prevent germline tumor formation. Here, we report that PRO-1, like its yeast ortholog IPI3, influences rRNA processing. pro-1 tumors are suppressed by mutations in ncl-1 or lin-35/Rb, both of which elevate pre-rRNA levels. Thus, in this context, lin-35/Rb acts as a soma-autonomous germline tumor promoter. We further report the characterization of two additional genes identified for their germline tumor phenotype, pro-2 and pro-3, and find that they, too, encode orthologs of proteins involved in ribosome biogenesis in yeast (NOC2 and SDA1, respectively). Finally, we demonstrate that depletion of additional C. elegans orthologs of yeast ribosome biogenesis factors display phenotypes similar to depletion of progenes. We conclude that the C. elegans distal sheath is particularly sensitive to alterations in ribosome biogenesis and that ribosome biogenesis defects in one tissue can non-autonomously influence proliferation in an adjacent tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Nucleolus / physiology
  • Disorders of Sex Development / etiology
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Gonads / embryology
  • Gonads / metabolism
  • Gonads / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phenotype
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Ribosomes / physiology*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Repressor Proteins
  • lin-35 protein, C elegans