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Curr Biol. 2014 May 5;24(9):970-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.015. Epub 2014 Apr 17.

Germ-granule components prevent somatic development in the C. elegans germline.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA; Kathryn W. Davis Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Salisbury Cove, ME 04672, USA. Electronic address: dupdike@mdibl.org.
2
Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.
3
Kathryn W. Davis Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Salisbury Cove, ME 04672, USA.

Abstract

Specialized ribonucleoprotein organelles collectively known as germ granules are found in the germline cytoplasm from worms to humans [1]. In Drosophila, germ granules have been implicated in germline determination [2]. C. elegans germ granules, known as P granules, do not appear to be required for primordial germ cell (PGC) determination [3], but their components are still needed for fertility [4-6]. One potential role for P granules is to maintain germline fate and totipotency. This is suggested by the loss of P granules from germ cells that transform into somatic cell types, e.g., in germlines lacking MEX-3 and GLD-1 or upon neuronal induction by CHE-1 [7, 8]. However, it has not been established whether loss of P granules is the cause or effect of cell fate transformation. To test cause and effect, we severely compromised P granules by simultaneously knocking down factors that nucleate granule formation (PGL-1 and PGL-3) and promote their perinuclear localization (GLH-1 and GLH-4) [9] and investigated whether this causes germ cells to lose totipotency and initiate somatic reprogramming. We found that compromising P granules causes germ cells to express neuronal and muscle markers and send out neurite-like projections, suggesting that P granules maintain totipotency and germline identity by antagonizing somatic fate.

PMID:
24746798
PMCID:
PMC4036631
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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