Regulation of RNA granule dynamics by phosphorylation of serine-rich, intrinsically disordered proteins in C. elegans

Jennifer T. Wang, Jarrett Smith, Bi Chang Chen, Helen Schmidt, Dominique Rasoloson, Alexandre Paix, Bramwell G. Lambrus, Deepika Calidas, Eric Betzig, Geraldine Seydoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

RNA granules have been likened to liquid droplets whose dynamics depend on the controlled dissolution and condensation of internal components. The molecules and reactions that drive these dynamics in vivo are not well understood. In this study, we present evidence that a group of intrinsically disordered, serine-rich proteins regulate the dynamics of P granules in C. elegans embryos. The MEG (maternal-effect germline defective) proteins are germ plasm components that are required redundantly for fertility. We demonstrate that MEG-1 and MEG-3 are substrates of the kinase MBK-2/DYRK and the phosphatase PP2APPTR−½. Phosphorylation of the MEGs promotes granule disassembly and dephosphorylation promotes granule assembly. Using lattice light sheet microscopy on live embryos, we show that GFP-tagged MEG-3 localizes to a dynamic domain that surrounds and penetrates each granule. We conclude that, despite their liquid-like behavior, P granules are non-homogeneous structures whose assembly in embryos is regulated by phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere04591
JournaleLife
Volume3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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