P granules are germ-cell-specific cytoplasmic structures containing RNA and protein, and required for proper germ cell development in C. elegans. PGL-1 and GLH-1 were previously identified as critical components of P granules. We have identified a new P-granuie-associated protein, DEPS-1, the loss of which disrupts P-granule structure and function. DEPS-1 is required for the proper localization of PGL-1 to P granules, the accumulation of glh-1 mRNA and protein, and germ cell proliferation and fertility at elevated temperatures. In addition, DEPS-1 is required for RNA interference (RNAi) of germline-expressed genes, possibly because DEPS-1 promotes the accumulation of RDE-4, a dsRNA-binding protein required for RNAi A genome wide analysis of gene expression in deps-1 mutant germ lines identified additional targets of DEPS-1 regulation, many of which are also regulated by the RNAi factor RDE-3. Our studies suggest that DEPS-1 is a key component of the P-granule assembly pathway and that its roles include promoting accumulation of some mRNAs, such as glh-7 and rde-4, and reducing accumulation of other mRNAs, perhaps by collaborating with RDE-3 to generate endogenous short interfering RNAs (endo-siRNAs).
- Gene expression
- Germ granules