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Science 311 (5762): 851-853

Copyright © 2006 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Translational Regulators Maintain Totipotency in the Caenorhabditis elegans Germline

Rafal Ciosk,1*{dagger} Michael DePalma,1,2 James R. Priess1,2,3

Abstract: The molecular mechanisms that maintain totipotency of the germline are not well understood. Here, we show that two conserved translational regulators, MEX-3 and GLD-1, are essential for maintaining totipotency in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline. In mex-3 gld-1 mutants, germ cells transdifferentiate into various somatic cell types such as muscles or neurons. Our findings implicate RNA regulation in the maintenance of totipotency, suggest that multiple mechanisms maintain totipotency at different stages of germline development, and establish a genetically tractable model for studying the development of teratomas.

1 Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.
2 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.
3 Molecular and Cellular Biology Program and Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

* Present address: Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, 4058 Basel, Switzerland.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: rafal.ciosk{at}fmi.ch


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