Faculté des sciences

The sperm-oocyte switch in the C. elegans hermaphrodite is controlled through steady-state levels of the fem-3 mRNA

Zanetti, Simone ; Grinschgl, Sonja ; Meola, Marco ; Belfiore, Marco ; Rey, Samantha ; Bianchi, Pamela ; Puoti, Alessandro

In: RNA, 2012, vol. 18, no. 7, p. 1385-1394

Post-transcriptional control regulates many aspects of germline development in the Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite. This nematode switches from spermatogenesis to oogenesis and is, therefore, capable of self-fertilization. This sperm-oocyte switch requires 3′ UTR-mediated repression of the fem-3 mRNA. Loss of fem-3 repression results in continuous spermatogenesis in hermaphrodites.... Plus

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    Summary
    Post-transcriptional control regulates many aspects of germline development in the Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite. This nematode switches from spermatogenesis to oogenesis and is, therefore, capable of self-fertilization. This sperm-oocyte switch requires 3′ UTR-mediated repression of the fem-3 mRNA. Loss of fem-3 repression results in continuous spermatogenesis in hermaphrodites. Although several factors regulating fem-3 have been identified, little is known about the mechanisms that control fem-3. Here, we investigate the steady-state levels of the fem-3 transcript and the expression pattern of its protein product. We show that FEM-3 is exclusively present in germ cells that are committed to spermatogenesis. We found that in fem-3(gf)/+ heterozygotes, mutant fem-3 gain-of-function transcripts are more abundant than their wild-type counterpart. Furthermore, we show that the penetrance of the fem-3(gf) allele correlates with inefficient FBF binding and extended poly(A) tail size of fem-3 mRNAs. Finally, we show that wild-type and gain-of-function mutated fem-3 mRNAs associate equally well with polyribosomes. We propose that the fem-3 mRNA is regulated through stabilization rather than through translatability.