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Polarization of the C. elegans zygote along the anterior-posterior axis depends on cortically enriched (PAR) and cytoplasmic (MEX-5/6) proteins, which function together to localize determinants (e.g. PIE-1) in response to a polarizing cue associated with the sperm asters. Using time-lapse microscopy and GFP fusions, we have analyzed the localization(More)
Early embryonic germ cells in C. elegans and D. melanogaster fail to express many messenger RNAs expressed in somatic cells. In contrast, we find that ribosomal RNAs are expressed in both cell types. We show that this deficiency in mRNA production correlates with the absence of a specific phosphoepitope on the carboxy-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II.(More)
Early embryogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans is characterized by a series of unequal cleavages that mark the stepwise separation of somatic and germ lineages. We have developed an in situ hybridization protocol to examine the localization of specific maternal and embryonically transcribed messenger RNAs during these early cleavages. We detected three(More)
gamma-Tubulin is a ubiquitous and highly conserved component of centrosomes in eukaryotic cells. Genetic and biochemical studies have demonstrated that gamma-tubulin functions as part of a complex to nucleate microtubule polymerization from centrosomes. We show that, as in other organisms, Caenorhabditis elegans gamma-tubulin is concentrated in centrosomes.(More)
Polarization of the C. elegans zygote is initiated by ECT-2-dependent cortical flows, which mobilize the anterior PAR proteins (PAR-3, PAR-6 and PKC-3) away from the future posterior end of the embryo marked by the sperm centrosome. Here, we demonstrate the existence of a second, parallel and redundant pathway that can polarize the zygote in the absence of(More)
In Drosophila, the posterior determinant nanos is required for embryonic patterning and for primordial germ cell (PGC) development. We have identified three genes in Caenorhabditis elegans that contain a putative zinc-binding domain similar to the one found in nanos, and show that two of these genes function during PGC development. Like Drosophila nanos, C.(More)
In many animals, establishment of the germ line depends on segregation of a specialized cytoplasm, or 'germ plasm', to a small number of germline precursor cells during early embryogenesis. Germ plasm asymmetry involves targeting of RNAs and proteins to a specific region of the oocyte and/or embryo. Here we demonstrate that germ plasm asymmetry also depends(More)
How genes are regulated to produce the correct assortment of proteins for every cell type is a fundamental question in biology. For many genes, regulation begins at the DNA level with the use of promoter sequences to control transcription. Regulation can also occur after transcription using sequences in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of the mRNA to affect(More)
One hundred years after Weismann's seminal observations, the mechanisms that distinguish the germline from the soma still remain poorly understood. This review describes recent studies in Caenorhabditis elegans, which suggest that germ cells utilize unique mechanisms to regulate gene expression. In particular, mechanisms that repress the production of mRNAs(More)
Germ cells are essential for reproduction, yet the molecular mechanisms that underlie their unique development are only beginning to be understood. Here we review important events that lead to the establishment of the germline and the initiation of meiotic development in C. elegans. Formation of the germline begins in the pregastrulation embryo, where it(More)