The balance of poly(U) polymerase activity ensures germline identity, survival and development in caenorhabditis elegans

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Poly(U) polymerases (PUPs) catalyze 3′ uridylation of mRNAs and small RNAs, a modification often correlating with decreased RNA stability. We have investigated the importance of three proteins with in vitro PUP activity, PUP-1/CDE-1, PUP-2 and PUP-3, in C. elegans germline development. Genetic analysis indicates that PUP-1/CDE-1 and PUP-2 are developmentally redundant under conditions of temperature stress during which they ensure germline viability and development. Multiple lines of evidence indicate that pup-1/-2 double mutant germ cells fail to maintain their identity as distinct from soma. Consistent with phenotypic data, PUP-1 and PUP-2 are expressed in embryonic germ cell precursors and throughout germline development. The developmental importance of PUP activity is presumably in regulating gene expression as both a direct and indirect consequence of modifying target RNAs. PUP-3 is significantly overexpressed in the pup-1/-2 germline, and loss of pup-3 function partially suppresses pup-1/-2 germline defects. We conclude that one major function of PUP-1/-2 is to limit PUP-3 expression. Overall, the balance of PUP-1, PUP-2 and PUP-3 activities appears to ensure proper germline development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdev165944
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018



  • C. elegans germline development
  • PUP-1
  • PUP-2
  • PUP-3
  • Poly(U) polymerase
  • RNA stability
  • Transgenerational inheritance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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