Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 32541012
Link to DOI – dev.18681710.1242/dev.186817
Development 2020 Jun; ():
Caenorhabditis elegans early embryos generate cell-specific transcriptomes despite lacking active transcription, thereby presenting an opportunity to study mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulatory control. We observed that some cell-specific mRNAs accumulate non-homogenously within cells, localizing to membranes, P granules (associated with progenitor germ cells in the P lineage), and P-bodies (associated with RNA processing). The subcellular distribution of transcripts differed in their dependence on 3’UTRs and RNA Binding Proteins, suggesting diverse regulatory mechanisms. Notably, we found strong but imperfect correlations between low translational status and P granule localization within the progenitor germ lineage. By uncoupling translation from mRNA localization, we untangled a long-standing question: Are mRNAs directed to P granules to be translationally repressed, or do they accumulate there as a consequence of this repression? We found that translational repression preceded P granule localization and could occur independently of it. Further, disruption of translation was sufficient to send homogenously distributed mRNAs to P granules. These results implicate transcriptional repression as a means to deliver essential maternal transcripts to the progenitor germ lineage for later translation.