The Caenorhabditis elegans DDX-23, a homolog of yeast splicing factor PRP28, is required for the sperm-oocyte switch and differentiation of various cell types

Dev Dyn. 2008 Sep;237(9):2367-77. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21649.


DEAD/H-box proteins are involved in various aspects of RNA metabolism. Here we report the developmental function of a DEAD-box protein, DDX-23, in Caenorhabditis elegans, which has significant homology with the yeast splicing factor PRP28. We found by RNAi and mutant analyses that DDX-23 is essential for both embryonic and post-embryonic development, and required for differentiation of the majority of somatic tissues. When the germline function of ddx-23 was inhibited, hermaphrodite animals showed a reduced number of germ cells and failed to switch from spermatogenesis to oogenesis. These phenotypes were similar to those of the mutants of the three DEAH-box proteins (MOG-1, MOG-4, and MOG-5) whose yeast orthologs are involved in the pre-mRNA splicing pathway. We speculate that DDX-23 functions with the three MOG proteins in the same pathway to regulate tissue differentiation, robust germline proliferation, and the sperm/oocyte switch through modulations of ribonucleoprotein complexes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / genetics
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gametogenesis / genetics
  • Gametogenesis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / metabolism
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / metabolism*
  • RNA Interference
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Spermatozoa / cytology
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DDX-23 protein, C elegans
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases