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J Cell Biol. 2008 Aug 11;182(3):543-57. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200801183.

Protection of specific maternal messenger RNAs by the P body protein CGH-1 (Dhh1/RCK) during Caenorhabditis elegans oogenesis.

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Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and 2Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


During oogenesis, numerous messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are maintained in a translationally silenced state. In eukaryotic cells, various translation inhibition and mRNA degradation mechanisms congregate in cytoplasmic processing bodies (P bodies). The P body protein Dhh1 inhibits translation and promotes decapping-mediated mRNA decay together with Pat1 in yeast, and has been implicated in mRNA storage in metazoan oocytes. Here, we have investigated in Caenorhabditis elegans whether Dhh1 and Pat1 generally function together, and how they influence mRNA sequestration during oogenesis. We show that in somatic tissues, the Dhh1 orthologue (CGH-1) forms Pat1 (patr-1)-dependent P bodies that are involved in mRNA decapping. In contrast, during oogenesis, CGH-1 forms patr-1-independent mRNA storage bodies. CGH-1 then associates with translational regulators and a specific set of maternal mRNAs, and prevents those mRNAs from being degraded. Our results identify somatic and germ cell CGH-1 functions that are distinguished by the involvement of PATR-1, and reveal that during oogenesis, numerous translationally regulated mRNAs are specifically protected by a CGH-1-dependent mechanism.

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