Caenorhabditis elegans EGO-1, a putative cellular RNA-directed RNA polymerase, promotes several aspects of germline development, including proliferation, meiosis, and gametogenesis, and ensures a robust response to RNA interference. In C. elegans, GLP-1/Notch signaling from the somatic gonad maintains a population of proliferating germ cells, while entry of germ cells into meiosis is triggered by the GLD-1 and GLD-2 pathways. GLP-1 signaling prevents germ cells from entering meiosis by inhibiting GLD-1 and GLD-2 activity. We originally identified the ego-1 gene on the basis of a genetic interaction with glp-1. Here, we investigate the role of ego-1 in germline proliferation. Our data indicate that EGO-1 does not positively regulate GLP-1 protein levels or GLP-1 signaling activity. Moreover, GLP-1 signaling does not positively regulate EGO-1 activity. EGO-1 does not inhibit expression of GLD-1 protein in the distal germline. Instead, EGO-1 acts in parallel with GLP-1 signaling to influence the proliferation vs. meiosis fate choice. Moreover, EGO-1 and GLD-1 act in parallel to ensure germline health. Finally, the size and distribution of nuclear pore complexes and perinuclear P granules are altered in the absence of EGO-1, effects that disrupt germ cell biology per se and probably limit germline growth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas