In C. elegans, the decision between germline stem cell proliferation and entry into meiosis is controlled by GLP-1 Notch signaling, which promotes proliferation through repression of the redundant GLD-1 and GLD-2 pathways that direct meiotic entry. We identify prp-17 as another gene functioning downstream of GLP-1 signaling that promotes meiotic entry, largely by acting on the GLD-1 pathway, and that also functions in female germline sex determination. PRP-17 is orthologous to the yeast and human pre-mRNA splicing factor PRP17/CDC40 and can rescue the temperature-sensitive lethality of yeast PRP17. This link to splicing led to an RNAi screen of predicted C. elegans splicing factors in sensitized genetic backgrounds. We found that many genes throughout the splicing cascade function in the proliferation/meiotic entry decision and germline sex determination indicating that splicing per se, rather than a novel function of a subset of splicing factors, is necessary for these processes.
Copyright (c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.