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J Mol Biol. 2018 Nov 2;430(23):4702-4710. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2018.08.007. Epub 2018 Aug 8.

The P Granules of C. elegans: A Genetic Model for the Study of RNA-Protein Condensates.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, HHMI, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, 725 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. Electronic address:


P granules are RNA/protein condensates in the germline of Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetic analyses have begun to identify the proteins that regulate P granule assembly in the cytoplasm of zygotes. Among them, the RGG-domain protein PGL-3, the intrinsically disordered protein MEG-3, and the RNA helicase LAF-1 all bind and phase separate with RNA in vitro. We discuss how RNA-induced phase separation, competition with other RNA-binding proteins, and reversible phosphorylation contribute to the asymmetric localization of P granules in the cytoplasm of newly fertilized embryos. P granules contain RNA silencing complexes that monitor the germline transcriptome and may provide an RNA memory of germline gene expression across generations.


C. elegans; Germline condensates; P granules; RNA granules

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