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Dev Biol April 15, 2006; 292 (2): 393-406.

Zebrafish Staufen1 and Staufen2 are required for the survival and migration of primordial germ cells.

Ramasamy S , Wang H , Quach HN , Sampath K .

In sexually reproducing organisms, primordial germ cells (PGCs) give rise to the cells of the germ line, the gametes. In many animals, PGCs are set apart from somatic cells early during embryogenesis. Work in Drosophila, C. elegans, Xenopus, and zebrafish has shown that maternally provided localized cytoplasmic determinants specify the germ line in these organisms (Raz, E., 2003. Primordial germ-cell development: the zebrafish perspective. Nat. Rev., Genet. 4, 690--700; Santos, A.C., Lehmann, R., 2004. Germ cell specification and migration in Drosophila and beyond. Curr. Biol. 14, R578-R589). The Drosophila RNA-binding protein, Staufen is required for germ cell formation, and mutations in stau result in a maternal effect grandchild-less phenotype (Schupbach,T., Weischaus, E., 1989. Female sterile mutations on the second chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster:1. Maternal effect mutations. Genetics 121, 101-17). Here we describe the functions of two zebrafish Staufen-related proteins, Stau1 and Stau2. When Stau1 or Stau2 functions are compromised in embryos by injecting antisense morpholino modified oligonucleotides or dominant-negative Stau peptides, germ layer patterning is not affected. However, expression of the PGC marker vasa is not maintained. Furthermore, expression of a green fluorescent protein (GFP):nanos 3''UTR fusion protein in germ cells shows that PGC migration is aberrant, and the mis-migrating PGCs do not survive in Stau-compromised embryos. Stau2 is also required for survival of neurons in the central nervous system (CNS). These phenotypes are rescued by co-injection of Drosophila stau mRNA. Thus, staufen has an evolutionarily conserved function in germ cells. In addition, we have identified a function for Stau proteins in PGC migration.

PubMed ID: 16513105
Article link: Dev Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: ddx4 pgc stau1 stau2