Cytoplasmic partitioning of P granule components is not required to specify the germline in C. elegans

Science. 2010 Dec 17;330(6011):1685-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1193697. Epub 2010 Dec 2.

Abstract

Asymmetric segregation of P granules during the first four divisions of the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo is a classic example of cytoplasmic partitioning of germline determinants. It is thought that asymmetric partitioning of P granule components during mitosis is essential to distinguish germline from soma. We have identified a mutant (pptr-1) in which P granules become unstable during mitosis and P granule proteins and RNAs are distributed equally to somatic and germline blastomeres. Despite symmetric partitioning of P granule components, pptr-1 mutants segregate a germline that uniquely expresses P granules during postembryonic development. pptr-1 mutants are fertile, except at high temperatures. Hence, asymmetric partitioning of maternal P granules is not essential to specify germ cell fate. Instead, it may serve to protect the nascent germline from stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastomeres / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / physiology*
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / ultrastructure
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Embryonic Development
  • Germ Cells / physiology*
  • Interphase
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Mitosis
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • RNA, Helminth / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Zygote / physiology

Substances

  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PGL-1 protein, C elegans
  • RNA, Helminth
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • pie-1 protein, C elegans
  • pptr-1 protein, C elegans
  • PAR-1 protein, C elegans
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases