HMG-CoA reductase guides migrating primordial germ cells

Nature. 1998 Dec 3;396(6710):466-9. doi: 10.1038/24871.


The enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase is best known for catalysing a rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis, but it also participates in the production of a wide variety of other compounds. Some clinical benefits attributed to inhibitors of HMG-CoA reductase are now thought to be independent of any serum cholesterol-lowering effect. Here we describe a new cholesterol-independent role for HMG-CoA reductase, in regulating a developmental process: primordial germ cell migration. We show that in Drosophila this enzyme is highly expressed in the somatic gonad and that it is necessary for primordial germ cells to migrate to this tissue. Misexpression of HMG-CoA reductase is sufficient to attract primordial germ cells to tissues other than the gonadal mesoderm. We conclude that the regulated expression of HMG-CoA reductase has a critical developmental function in providing spatial information to guide migrating primordial germ cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drosophila
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Insect
  • Germ Cells / physiology*
  • Gonads / cytology
  • Gonads / embryology
  • Gonads / enzymology
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases / genetics
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases / physiology*
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Mesoderm / enzymology
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases