, Volume 217, Issue 4, pp 275-287
Date: 27 Feb 2007

Apvasa marks germ-cell migration in the parthenogenetic pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphidoidea)

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In the parthenogenetic and viviparous pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, germline specification depends on the germ plasm localized to the posterior region of the egg chamber before the formation of the blastoderm. During blastulation, germline segregation occurs at the egg posterior, and in early gastrulation germ cells are pushed inward by the invaginating germ band. Previous studies suggest that germ cells remain dorsal in the embryo in subsequent developmental stages. In fact, though, it is not known whether germ cells remain in place or migrate dynamically during katatrepsis and germ-band retraction. We cloned Apvasa, a pea aphid homologue of Drosophila vasa, and used it as a germline marker to monitor the migration of germ cells. Apvasa messenger RNA (mRNA) was first restricted to morphologically identifiable germ cells after blastoderm formation but that expression soon faded. Apvasa transcripts were again identified in germ cells from the stage when the endosymbiotic bacteria invaded the embryo, and after that, Apvasa mRNA was present in germ cells throughout all developmental stages. At the beginning of katatrepsis, germ cells were detected at the anteriormost region of the egg chamber as they were migrating into the body cavity. During the early period of germ-band retraction, germ cells were separated into several groups surrounded by a layer of somatic cells devoid of Apvasa staining, suggesting that the coalescence between migrating germ cells and the somatic gonadal mesoderm occurs between late katatrepsis and early germ-band retraction.