Remodelling germ cells by intercellular cannibalism

Nat Cell Biol. 2016 Nov 29;18(12):1267-1268. doi: 10.1038/ncb3449.


Work from the early 1980s reported strange lobes protruding from Caenorhabditis elegans germ cell precursors. However, the fate and potential significance of these lobes remained unexplored for decades. Now, neighbouring endodermal cells are shown to sever and digest these lobes, in an unexpected process of 'intercellular cannibalism', which could play an important part in regulating primordial germ cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism*
  • Germ Cells / cytology*
  • Models, Biological