Translational Control of Germ Cell Decisions
Germline poses unique challenges to gene expression control at the transcriptional level. While the embryonic germline maintains a global hold on new mRNA transcription, the female adult germline produces transcripts that are not translated into proteins until embryogenesis of subsequent generation. As a consequence, translational control plays a central role in governing various germ cell decisions including the formation of primordial germ cells, self-renewal/differentiation decisions in the adult germline, onset of gametogenesis and oocyte maturation. Mechanistically, several common themes such as asymmetric localization of mRNAs, conserved RNA-binding proteins that control translation by 3′ UTR binding, translational activation by the cytoplasmic elongation of the polyA tail and the assembly of mRNA-protein complexes called mRNPs have emerged from the studies on Caenorhabditis elegans, Xenopus and Drosophila. How mRNPs assemble, what influences their dynamics, and how a particular 3′ UTR-binding protein turns on the translation of certain mRNAs while turning off other mRNAs at the same time and space are key challenges for future work.
Work in the KS laboratory is supported by grants from the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
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