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

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Abstract

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
JournalNature
Volume382
Issue number6593
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

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    Mello, C. C., Schubert, C., Draper, B., Zhang, W., Lobel, R., & Priess, J. R. (1996). The PIE-1 protein and germline specification in C. elegans embryos. Nature, 382(6593), 710-712. https://doi.org/10.1038/382710a0