Indexed on: 09 Aug '12Published on: 09 Aug '12Published in: Advances in experimental medicine and biology
Translational control is a prevalent form of gene expression regulation in the Caenorhabditis elegans germ line. Linking the amount of protein synthesis to mRNA quantity and translational accessibility in the cell cytoplasm provides unique advantages over DNA-based controls for developing germ cells. This mode of gene expression is especially exploited in germ cell fate decisions and during oogenesis, when the developing oocytes stockpile hundreds of different mRNAs required for early embryogenesis. Consequently, a dense web of RNA regulators, consisting of diverse RNA-binding proteins and RNA-modifying enzymes, control the translatability of entire mRNA expression programs. These RNA regulatory networks are tightly coupled to germ cell developmental progression and are themselves under translational control. The underlying molecular mechanisms and RNA codes embedded in the mRNA molecules are beginning to be understood. Hence, the C. elegans germ line offers fertile grounds for discovering post-transcriptional mRNA regulatory mechanisms and emerges as great model for a systems level understanding of translational control during development.