Protein-based condensation mechanisms drive the assembly of RNA-rich P granules

Helen Schmidt, Andrea Putnam, Dominique Rasoloson, Geraldine Seydoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Germ granules are protein-RNA condensates that segregate with the embryonic germline. In Caenorhabditis elegans embryos, germ (P) granule assembly requires MEG-3, an intrinsically disordered protein that forms RNA-rich condensates on the surface of PGL condensates at the core of P granules. MEG-3 is related to the GCNA family and contains an N-terminal disordered region (IDR) and a predicted ordered C-terminus featuring an HMG-like motif (HMGL). We find that MEG-3 is a modular protein that uses its IDR to bind RNA and its C-terminus to drive condensation. The HMGL motif mediates binding to PGL-3 and is required for co-assembly of MEG-3 and PGL-3 condensates in vivo. Mutations in HMGL cause MEG-3 and PGL-3 to form separate condensates that no longer co-segregate to the germline or recruit RNA. Our findings highlight the importance of protein-based condensation mechanisms and condensate-condensate interactions in the assembly of RNA-rich germ granules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere63698
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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