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Science. 2006 Feb 10;311(5762):851-3.

Translational regulators maintain totipotency in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline.

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  • 1Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA. rafal.ciosk@fmi.ch


The molecular mechanisms that maintain totipotency of the germline are not well understood. Here, we show that two conserved translational regulators, MEX-3 and GLD-1, are essential for maintaining totipotency in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline. In mex-3 gld-1 mutants, germ cells transdifferentiate into various somatic cell types such as muscles or neurons. Our findings implicate RNA regulation in the maintenance of totipotency, suggest that multiple mechanisms maintain totipotency at different stages of germline development, and establish a genetically tractable model for studying the development of teratomas.

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