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Bioarchitecture. 2013 Jul-Aug;3(4):125-32. doi: 10.4161/bioa.26538.

Gradual recruitment and selective clearing generate germ plasm aggregates in the zebrafish embryo.

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Laboratory of Genetics; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Madison, WI USA.


Determination of primordial germ cells (PGCs) is one of the earliest decisions in animal embryogenesis. In many species, PGCs are determined through maternally-inherited germ plasm ribonucleoparticles (RNPs). In zebrafish, these are transmitted during oogenesis as dispersed RNPs, which after fertilization multimerize and become recruited as large aggregates at furrows for the first and second cell cycles. Here, we show that the number of recruited germ plasm RNPs is halved every cell cycle. We also show that germ plasm RNPs are recruited during the third cell cycle, but only transiently. Our data support a mechanism in which systematic local gathering of germ plasm RNPs during cytokinesis and threshold-dependent clearing contribute to forming germ plasm aggregates with the highest RNP number and germ cell-inducing potential.


Birc5b; chromosomal passenger complex; cytokinesis; germ cell; germ plasm; maternal inheritance; microtubule asters; ribonucleoparticles; zebrafish

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