skip to main content


Title: Protein components of ribonucleoprotein granules from Drosophila germ cells oligomerize and show distinct spatial organization during germline development
The assembly of large RNA-protein granules occurs in germ cells of many animals and these germ granules have provided a paradigm to study structure-functional aspects of similar structures in different cells. Germ granules in Drosophila oocyte’s posterior pole (polar granules) are composed of RNA, in the form of homotypic clusters, and proteins required for germline development. In the granules, Piwi protein Aubergine binds to a scaffold protein Tudor, which contains 11 Tudor domains. Using a super-resolution microscopy, we show that surprisingly, Aubergine and Tudor form distinct clusters within the same polar granules in early Drosophila embryos. These clusters partially overlap and, after germ cells form, they transition into spherical granules with the structural organization unexpected from these interacting proteins: Aubergine shell around the Tudor core. Consistent with the formation of distinct clusters, we show that Aubergine forms homo-oligomers and using all purified Tudor domains, we demonstrate that multiple domains, distributed along the entire Tudor structure, interact with Aubergine. Our data suggest that in polar granules, Aubergine and Tudor are assembled into distinct phases, partially mixed at their “interaction hubs”, and that association of distinct protein clusters may be an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for the assembly of germ granules.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1715541 1054962
NSF-PAR ID:
10136695
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific reports
Volume:
9
ISSN:
2045-2322
Page Range / eLocation ID:
19190
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The assembly of large RNA-protein granules occurs in germ cells of many animals and these germ granules have provided a paradigm to study structure-functional aspects of similar structures in different cells. Germ granules inDrosophilaoocyte’s posterior pole (polar granules) are composed of RNA, in the form of homotypic clusters, and proteins required for germline development. In the granules, Piwi protein Aubergine binds to a scaffold protein Tudor, which contains 11 Tudor domains. Using a super-resolution microscopy, we show that surprisingly, Aubergine and Tudor form distinct clusters within the same polar granules in earlyDrosophilaembryos. These clusters partially overlap and, after germ cells form, they transition into spherical granules with the structural organization unexpected from these interacting proteins: Aubergine shell around the Tudor core. Consistent with the formation of distinct clusters, we show that Aubergine forms homo-oligomers and using all purified Tudor domains, we demonstrate that multiple domains, distributed along the entire Tudor structure, interact with Aubergine. Our data suggest that in polar granules, Aubergine and Tudor are assembled into distinct phases, partially mixed at their “interaction hubs”, and that association of distinct protein clusters may be an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for the assembly of germ granules.

     
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Membraneless RNA-protein granules play important roles in many different cell types and organisms. In particular, granules found in germ cells have been used as a paradigm to study large and dynamic granules. These germ granules contain RNA and proteins required for germline development. Here, we unexpectedly identify large granules in specific subtypes of glial cells (“glial granules”) of the adult Drosophila brain which contain polypeptides with previously characterized roles in germ cells including scaffold Tudor, Vasa, Polar granule component and Piwi family proteins. Interestingly, our super-resolution microscopy analysis shows that in the glial granules, these proteins form distinct partially overlapping clusters. Furthermore, we show that glial granule scaffold protein Tudor functions in silencing of transposable elements and in small regulatory piRNA biogenesis. Remarkably, our data indicate that the adult brain contains a small population of cells, which express both neuroblast and germ cell proteins. These distinct cells are evolutionarily conserved and expand during aging suggesting the existence of age-dependent signaling. Our work uncovers previously unknown glial granules and indicates the involvement of their components in the regulation of brain transcriptome. 
    more » « less
  3. Membraneless organelles are RNA–protein assemblies which have been implicated in post‐transcriptional control. Germ cells form membraneless organelles referred to as germ granules, which contain conserved proteins including Tudor domain‐containing scaffold polypeptides and their partner proteins that interact with Tudor domains. Here, we show that inDrosophila, different germ granule proteins associate with the multi‐domain Tudor protein using different numbers of Tudor domains. Furthermore, these proteins compete for interaction with Tudorin vitroand, surprisingly, partition to distinct and poorly overlapping clusters in germ granulesin vivo. This partition results in minimization of the competition. Our data suggest that Tudor forms structurally different configurations with different partner proteins which dictate different biophysical properties and phase separation parameters within the same granule.

     
    more » « less
  4. True, John (Ed.)
    Abstract

    The copackaging of mRNAs into biomolecular condensates called germ granules is a conserved strategy to posttranscriptionally regulate germline mRNAs. In Drosophila melanogaster, mRNAs accumulate in germ granules by forming homotypic clusters, aggregates containing multiple transcripts from the same gene. Nucleated by Oskar (Osk), homotypic clusters are generated through a stochastic seeding and self-recruitment process that requires the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of germ granule mRNAs. Interestingly, the 3′ UTR belonging to germ granule mRNAs, such as nanos (nos), have considerable sequence variations among Drosophila species and we hypothesized that this diversity influences homotypic clustering. To test our hypothesis, we investigated the homotypic clustering of nos and polar granule component (pgc) in four Drosophila species and concluded that clustering is a conserved process used to enrich germ granule mRNAs. However, we discovered germ granule phenotypes that included significant changes in the abundance of transcripts present in species’ homotypic clusters, which also reflected diversity in the number of coalesced primordial germ cells within their embryonic gonads. By integrating biological data with computational modeling, we found that multiple mechanisms underlie naturally occurring germ granule diversity, including changes in nos, pgc, osk levels and/or homotypic clustering efficacy. Furthermore, we demonstrated how the nos 3′ UTR from different species influences nos clustering, causing granules to have ∼70% less nos and increasing the presence of defective primordial germ cells. Our results highlight the impact that evolution has on germ granules, which should provide broader insight into processes that modify compositions and activities of other classes of biomolecular condensate.

     
    more » « less
  5. Fehon, Richard (Ed.)
    To identify novel regulators of nonmuscle myosin II (NMII) we performed an image-based RNA interference screen using stable Drosophila melanogaster S2 cells expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-tagged regulatory light chain (RLC) of NMII and mCherry-Actin. We identified the Rab-specific GTPase-activating protein (GAP) RN-tre as necessary for the assembly of NMII RLC into contractile actin networks. Depletion of RN-tre led to a punctate NMII phenotype, similar to what is observed following depletion of proteins in the Rho1 pathway. Depletion of RN-tre also led to a decrease in active Rho1 and a decrease in phosphomyosin-positive cells by immunostaining, while expression of constitutively active Rho or Rho-kinase (Rok) rescues the punctate phenotype. Functionally, RN-tre depletion led to an increase in actin retrograde flow rate and cellular contractility in S2 and S2R+ cells, respectively. Regulation of NMII by RN-tre is only partially dependent on its GAP activity as overexpression of constitutively active Rabs inactivated by RN-tre failed to alter NMII RLC localization, while a GAP-dead version of RN-tre partially restored phosphomyosin staining. Collectively, our results suggest that RN-tre plays an important regulatory role in NMII RLC distribution, phosphorylation, and function, likely through Rho1 signaling and putatively serving as a link between the secretion machinery and actomyosin contractility. 
    more » « less