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Development. 1999 Feb;126(4):649-58.

glsA, a Volvox gene required for asymmetric division and germ cell specification, encodes a chaperone-like protein.

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Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA.


The gls genes of Volvox are required for the asymmetric divisions that set apart cells of the germ and somatic lineages during embryogenesis. Here we used transposon tagging to clone glsA, and then showed that it is expressed maximally in asymmetrically dividing embryos, and that it encodes a 748-amino acid protein with two potential protein-binding domains. Site-directed mutagenesis of one of these, the J domain (by which Hsp40-class chaperones bind to and activate specific Hsp70 partners) abolishes the capacity of glsA to rescue mutants. Based on this and other considerations, including the fact that the GlsA protein is associated with the mitotic spindle, we discuss how it might function, in conjunction with an Hsp70-type partner, to shift the division plane in asymmetrically dividing cells.

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