Large RNP granules in Caenorhabditis elegans oocytes have distinct phases of RNA-binding proteins

Mohamed T. Elaswad, Brooklynne M. Watkins, Katherine G. Sharp, Chloe Munderloh, Jennifer A. Schisa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The germ line provides an excellent in vivo system to study the regulation and function of RNP granules. Germ granules are conserved germ line-specific RNP granules that are positioned in the Caenorhabditis elegans adult gonad to function in RNA maintenance, regulation, and surveillance. In Caenorhabditis elegans, when oogenesis undergoes extended meiotic arrest, germ granule proteins and other RNAbinding proteins assemble into much larger RNP granules whose hypothesized function is to regulate RNA metabolism and maintain oocyte quality. To gain insight into the function of oocyte RNP granules, in this report, we characterize distinct phases for four protein components of RNP granules in arrested oocytes. We find that the RNA-binding protein PGL-1 is dynamic and has liquid-like properties, while the intrinsically disordered protein MEG-3 has gel-like properties, similar to the properties of the two proteins in small germ granules of embryos. We find that MEX-3 exhibits several gel-like properties but is more dynamic than MEG-3, while CGH-1 is dynamic but does not consistently exhibit liquid-like characteristics and may be an intermediate phase within RNP granules. These distinct phases of RNA-binding proteins correspond to, and may underlie, differential responses to stress. Interestingly, in oocyte RNP granules, MEG-3 is not required for the condensation of PGL-1 or other RNA-binding proteins, which differs from the role of MEG-3 in small, embryonic germ granules. Lastly, we show that the PUF-5 translational repressor appears to promote MEX-3 and MEG-3 condensation into large RNP granules; however, this role may be associated with regulation of oogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjkac173
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Condensation
  • Oogenesis
  • RNA-binding protein
  • RNP granule
  • phase transition


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