Segregation of Germ-Line-Specific Antigens During Embryogenesis in Caenorhabditis Elegans

  • Susan Strome
  • William B. Wood


Germ cells in a wide variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species contain distinctive cytoplasmic organelles that have been visualized by electron microscopy. The ubiliquity of such structures suggests that they play some role in germ-line determination or differentiation, or both. However, the nature and function of these structures remain unknown. We describe experiments with two types of immunologic probes, rabbit sera and mouse monoclonal antibodies, directed against cytoplasmic granules that are unique to germ-line cells in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, and that may correspond to the germ-line-specific structures seen by electron microscopy in C. elegans embryos. The antibodies have been used to follow the granules, termed P granules, during the early embryonic cleavage stages and throughout larval and adult development. P granules become progressively localized to the germ-line precursor cells during early embryogenesis. We are using conditionally lethal maternal-effect mutations to study this localization process. In addition to providing a rapid assay for P granules in wild-type, mutant, and experimentally manipulated embryos, the antibodies also promise to be useful in biochemically characterizing the granules and in investigating their function.


Germ Cell Polar Body Germ Plasm Nematode Caenorhabditis Elegans Immunofluorescence Image 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Strome
    • 1
  • William B. Wood
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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