In Caenorhabditis elegans, germ cells develop as spermatids in the larva and as oocytes in the adult. Such fundamentally different gametes are produced through a fine-tuned balance between feminizing and masculinizing genes. For example, the switch to oogenesis requires repression of the fem-3 mRNA through the mog genes. Here we report on the cloning and characterization of the sex determination gene mog-2. MOG-2 is the worm homolog of spliceosomal protein U2A'. We found that MOG-2 is expressed in most nuclei of somatic and germ cells. In addition to its role in sex determination, mog-2 is required for meiosis. Moreover, MOG-2 binds to U2B″/RNP-3 in the absence of RNA. We also show that MOG-2 associates with the U2 snRNA in the absence of RNP-3. Therefore, we propose that MOG-2 is a bona fide component of the U2 snRNP. Albeit not being required for general pre-mRNA splicing, MOG-2 increases the splicing efficiency to a cryptic splice site that is located at the 5' end of the exon.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.