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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Redundant control of the Caenorhabditis elegans sperm/oocyte switch by PUF-8 and FBF-1, two distinct PUF RNA-binding proteins.

PUF proteins control both growth and differentiation in the C. elegans germ line. These conserved RNA-binding proteins inhibit expression of target mRNAs, either by repressing translation or promoting degradation. Previous studies showed that PUF-8, a PUF protein with striking similarity to human Pumilio, prevents return of primary spermatocytes to the mitotic cell cycle [Subramaniam, K. & Seydoux, G. (2003) Curr. Biol. 13, 134-139]. We now report that PUF-8 is also critical for the hermaphrodite sperm/oocyte switch. Most puf-8 mutant hermaphrodites make both sperm and oocytes and are self-fertile, but some make a vast excess of sperm and fail to switch into oogenesis. This puf-8 defect is dramatically enhanced by removal of another puf gene called fbf-1: all fbf-1 puf-8 double mutants fail in the hermaphrodite sperm/oocyte switch. Therefore, puf-8 and fbf-1 act redundantly to control this decision. Epistasis analyses place puf-8 and fbf-1 upstream of fog-2, a gene near the top of the germ-line sex determination pathway. Furthermore, the abundance of FOG-2 increases dramatically in the distal region of fbf-1 puf-8 double mutants. We suggest that PUF-8 and FBF-1 may control fog-2 expression, and that the sperm/oocyte decision occurs in the distal germ line.[1]


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