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Genes Cells. 2006 Apr;11(4):383-96.

OMA-1 is a P granules-associated protein that is required for germline specification in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos.

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Department of Biochemistry, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0812, Japan.


In Caenorhabditis elegans, CCCH-type zinc-finger proteins have been shown to be involved in the differentiation of germ cells during embryonic development. Previously, we and others have identified novel redundant CCCH-type zinc-finger proteins, OMA-1 and OMA-2, that are involved in oocyte maturation. In this study, we report that the cytoplasmic expression level of OMA-1 protein was largely reduced after fertilization. In contrast to its cytoplasmic degradation, OMA-1 was found to accumulate exclusively on P granules in germline blastomeres during embryogenesis. A notable finding is that embryos with partially suppressed oma-1; oma-2 expression showed inappropriate germline specification, including abnormal distributions of PGL-1, MEX-1 and PIE-1 proteins. Thus, our results suggest that oma gene products are novel multifunctional proteins that participate in crucial processes for germline specification during embryonic development.

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