Developmental transitions of germ cells are often regulated at the level of post-transcriptional control of gene expression. In the Caenorhabditis elegans germline, stem and progenitor cells exit the proliferative phase and enter meiotic differentiation to form gametes essential for fertility. The RNA binding protein GLD-1 is a cell fate regulator that promotes meiosis and germ cell differentiation during development by binding to and repressing translation of target messenger RNAs. Here, we discovered that some GLD-1 functions are promoted by binding to DLC-1, a small protein that functions as an allosteric regulator of multisubunit protein complexes. We found that DLC-1 is required to regulate a subset of GLD-1 target messenger RNAs and that DLC-1 binding GLD-1 prevents ectopic germ cell proliferation and facilitates gametogenesis in vivo. Additionally, our results reveal a new requirement for GLD-1 in the events of oogenesis leading to ovulation. DLC-1 contributes to GLD-1 function independent of its role as a light chain component of the dynein motor. Instead, we propose that DLC-1 promotes assembly of GLD-1 with other binding partners, which facilitates formation of regulatory ribonucleoprotein complexes and may direct GLD-1 target messenger RNA selectivity.
- Post-transcriptional regulation
- RNA binding protein