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Genesis. 2011 May;49(5):380-91. doi: 10.1002/dvg.20726.

C. elegans meg-1 and meg-2 differentially interact with nanos family members to either promote or inhibit germ cell proliferation and survival.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


The closely related C. elegans MEG-1 and MEG-2 proteins localize to P granules during a brief period of embryogenesis when the germ lineage is being separated from the soma. Embryonic primordial germ cells still develop in the absence of MEG activity, but major defects emerge during larval stages when germ cells fail to proliferate or differentiate normally, resulting in sterility. To investigate meg-1 function, we conducted a targeted RNAi screen for enhancers and suppressors of meg-1 sterility. Here, we show that meg-1 interacts with multiple pathways that promote germ cell proliferation and survival. Surprisingly, we found that two nanos family members had opposing effects on the meg-1 phenotype. Loss of nos-3 suppressed the meg-1 phenotype, restoring fertility, while loss of nos-2 enhanced the meg-1 phenotype, abolishing proliferation and causing early and pronounced germ cell degeneration. Together, our analyses suggest that, under circumstances that favor proliferation, MEG function is not essential for germ cells to proliferate, although it is important for optimal proliferation. Additionally, MEG activity is likely more directly involved in germ cell survival than previously thought. genesis 49:380-391, 2011.

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