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PUF-8 negatively regulates RAS/MAPK signalling to promote differentiation of C. elegans germ cells
, Vaid S., Ariz M., Chaturbedi A.,
Published in The Company of Biologists
Volume: 140
Issue: 8
Pages: 1645 - 1654

Signals that promote germ cell self-renewal by preventing premature meiotic entry are well understood. However, signals that control mitotic proliferation to promote meiotic differentiation have not been well characterized. In Caenorhabditis elegans, GLP-1 Notch signalling promotes the proliferative fate by preventing premature meiotic entry. The germline niche cell, which is the source of the ligand for GLP-1, spatially restricts GLP-1 signalling and thus enables the germ cells that have moved away from the niche to enter meiosis. Here, we show that the suppression of RAS/MAP kinase signalling in the mitotic and meiotic-entry regions is essential for the regulation of the mitosis-meiosis switch by niche signalling. We provide evidence that the conserved PUF family RNA-binding protein PUF-8 and the RAS GAP protein GAP-3 function redundantly to suppress the LET-60 RAS in the mitotic and meiotic entry regions. Germ cells missing both PUF-8 and GAP-3 proliferate in an uncontrolled fashion and fail to undergo meiotic development. MPK-1, the MAP kinase downstream of the LET-60 RAS, is prematurely activated in these cells; downregulation of MPK-1 activation eliminates tumours and restores differentiation. Our results further reveal that PUF-8 negatively regulates LET-60 expression at a post-transcriptional step. LET-60 is misexpressed in the puf-8(–) mutant germlines and PUF-8 physically interacts with the let-60 3 UTR. Furthermore, PUF-8 suppresses let-60 3 UTR-mediated expression in the germ cells that are transitioning from the mitotic to meiotic fate. These results reveal that PUF-8-mediated inhibition of the RAS/MAPK pathway is essential for mitotic-to-meiotic fate transition.

About the journal
PublisherThe Company of Biologists
Open AccessNo