The PIE-1 protein and germline specification in C. elegans embryos

C. C. Mello, C. Schubert, B. Draper, W. Zhang, R. Lobel, J. R. Priess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


Totipotent germline blastomeres in Caenorhabditis elegans contain, but do not respond to, factors that promote somatic differentiation in other embryonic cells. Mutations in the maternal gene pie-I result in the germline blastomeres adopting somatic cell fates. Here we show that pie-1 encodes a nuclear protein, PIE-I, that is localized to the germline blastomeres throughout early development. During division of each germline blastomere, PIE-1 initially associates with both centrosomes of the mitotic spindle. However, PIE-1 rapidly disappears from the centrosome destined for the somatic daughter, and persists in the centrosome of the daughter that becomes the next germline blastomere. The PIE-1 protein contains potential zinc- finger motifs also found in the mammalian growth-factor response protein TIS- 11/NUP475. The localization and genetic properties pie-1 provide an example of a repressor-based mechanism for preserving pluripotency within a stem cell lineage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-712
Number of pages3
Issue number6593
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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