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Development. 2010 Jun;137(11):1815-23. doi: 10.1242/dev.046110. Epub 2010 Apr 28.

Lipid phosphate phosphatase activity regulates dispersal and bilateral sorting of embryonic germ cells in Drosophila.

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HHMI and Kimmel Center for Biology and Medicine of the Skirball Institute, Department of Cell Biology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.


In Drosophila, germ cell survival and directionality of migration are controlled by two lipid phosphate phosphatases (LPP), wunen (wun) and wunen-2 (wun2). wun wun2 double mutant analysis reveals that the two genes, hereafter collectively called wunens, act redundantly in primordial germ cells. We find that wunens mediate germ cell-germ cell repulsion and that this repulsion is necessary for germ cell dispersal and proper transepithelial migration at the onset of migration and for the equal sorting of the germ cells between the two embryonic gonads during their migration. We propose that this dispersal function optimizes adult fecundity by assuring maximal germ cell occupancy of both gonads. Furthermore, we find that the requirement for wunens in germ cell survival can be eliminated by blocking germ cell migration. We suggest that this essential function of Wunen is needed to maintain cell integrity in actively migrating germ cells.

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