Liquid droplet germ granules require assembly and localized regulators for mRNA repression

Scott Takeo Aoki, Tina R Lynch, Sarah L Crittenden, Craig A Bingman, Marvin Wickens, Judith Kimble

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Date Received: 5th July 19

Cytoplasmic RNA-protein (RNP) granules have diverse biophysical properties, from liquid to solid, and play enigmatic roles in RNA metabolism. Nematode P-granules are paradigmatic liquid droplet granules and central to germ cell development. Here we analyze a key P-granule scaffolding protein, called PGL, to investigate the functional relationship between P-granule assembly and function. Using a protein-RNA tethering assay, we find that reporter mRNA expression is repressed when recruited to PGL granules. We determine the crystal structure of the PGL N-terminal region to 1.5 Å, discover its dimerization and identify key residues at the dimer interface. In vivo mutations of those interface residues prevent P-granule assembly, de-repress PGL-tethered mRNA and reduce fertility. Therefore, PGL dimerization lies at the heart of both P-granule assembly and function. Finally, we identify the P-granule-associated Argonaute WAGO-1 as crucial for repression of PGL-tethered mRNA. We conclude that P-granule function requires both assembly and localized regulators.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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