GLD-1, a cytoplasmic protein essential for oocyte differentiation, shows stage- and sex-specific expression during Caenorhabditis elegans germline development

Dev Biol. 1996 Nov 25;180(1):165-83. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1996.0293.


GLD-1, a putative RNA binding protein, is essential for oocyte development in Caenorhabditis elegans. A gld-1 null mutation abolishes hermaphrodite oogenesis and confers a tumorous germline phenotype in which presumptive female germ cells exit the meiotic pathway and return to the mitotic cell cycle. Here we demonstrate that gld-1(null) germ lines express female-specific, but not male-specific, molecular markers, indicating that gld-1 acts downstream of sexual fate specification to regulate oocyte differentiation. Immunolocalization studies identify GLD-1 as a cytoplasmic germline protein that displays differential accumulation during germline development. First, germ cells that are in the mitotic cell cycle contain low levels of GLD-1 that likely reflect a nonessential gld-1 function (negative regulation of proliferation in the mitotic germ line) revealed in previous genetic studies. Second, entry of presumptive oocytes into the meiotic pathway is accompanied by a strong increase in GLD-1 expression/accumulation. GLD-1 levels are high through the pachytene stage but fall to background as germ cells exit pachytene and complete oogenesis. The meiotic prophase accumulation pattern is consistent with GLD-1's essential role in oocyte differentiation, which may be to repress the translation of a subset of maternal RNAs synthesized during early oogenesis until late oogenesis when GLD-1 is absent.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Disorders of Sex Development
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Female
  • Fertilization
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Helminth Proteins / analysis
  • Helminth Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Meiosis
  • Mitosis
  • Oocytes / cytology*
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Oogenesis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • GLD-1 protein, C elegans
  • Helminth Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins