Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Jul;16(7):406-16. doi: 10.1038/nrm4009.

Specifying and protecting germ cell fate.

Author information

1
Molecular, Cell &Developmental Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA.
2
Kathryn W. Davis Center for Regenerative Biology &Medicine, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine 04672, USA.

Abstract

Germ cells are the special cells in the body that undergo meiosis to generate gametes and subsequently entire new organisms after fertilization, a process that continues generation after generation. Recent studies have expanded our understanding of the factors and mechanisms that specify germ cell fate, including the partitioning of maternally supplied 'germ plasm', inheritance of epigenetic memory and expression of transcription factors crucial for primordial germ cell (PGC) development. Even after PGCs are specified, germline fate is labile and thus requires protective mechanisms, such as global transcriptional repression, chromatin state alteration and translation of only germline-appropriate transcripts. Findings from diverse species continue to provide insights into the shared and divergent needs of these special reproductive cells.

PMID:
26122616
PMCID:
PMC4698964
DOI:
10.1038/nrm4009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center