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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2010 Dec;22(6):709-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2010.08.012.

Repression of early zygotic transcription in the germline.

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  • 1Laboratory for Germline Development, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0047, Japan. akiran@cdb.riken.jp


Germ cells, the progenitors of gametes, are often specified and segregated from somatic lineages early in embryogenesis. As germ cells are essential to create the next generation in sexually reproducing organisms, they must be prevented from differentiating inappropriately into somatic cells. In Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans embryos, this is governed by the transient and global repression of mRNA transcription. Furthermore, the inhibition of somatic transcriptional programs is also crucial for germ cell specification in the mouse. Therefore, the active repression of somatic transcriptional programs appears to be a common mechanism for launching the germline. In this review, we will discuss the mechanisms of transcriptional repression during germ cell specification and their interspecies similarities and differences.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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