In the germ line of the Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite, nuclei either proliferate through mitosis or initiate meiosis, finally differentiating as spermatids or oocytes. The production of oocytes requires repression of the fem-3 mRNA by cytoplasmic FBF and nuclear MOG proteins. Here we report the identification of the sex determining gene mog-3 and show that in addition to its role in gamete sex determination, it is necessary for meiosis by acting downstream of GLP-1/Notch. Furthermore, we found that MOG-3 binds both to the nuclear proteins MEP-1 and CIR-1. MEP-1 is necessary for oocyte production and somatic differentiation, while the mammalian CIR-1 homolog counters Notch signaling. We propose that MOG-3, MEP-1 and CIR-1 associate in a nuclear complex which regulates different aspects of germ cell development. While FBF triggers the sperm/oocyte switch by directly repressing the fem-3 mRNA in the cytoplasm, the MOG proteins play a more indirect role in the nucleus, perhaps by acting as epigenetic regulators or by controlling precise splicing events.
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