A key aspect of development in all metazoans is remodeling at the cellular level. During the development of gametes, remodeling occurs throughout the germ line. When Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodites become depleted of sperm after 4 days of adulthood, significant cellular remodeling occurs within the meiotically-arrested oocytes, including the formation of ribonucleoprotein granules. Since major remodeling of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) occurs in early embryos, we investigated the extent of ER remodeling in meiotically-arrested oocytes. We found, using a combination of fluorescence reporters and transmission electron microscopy, that the ER in arrested oocytes accumulates in patches and sheets that are enriched at the cortex. Our findings suggest this remodeling is not due to simple displacement by large amounts of yolk that accumulate in arrested oocytes, and instead may be genetically regulated. We further identified the Ddx6 RNA helicase, CGH-1, as a key regulator of ER in the germ line. In cgh-1(tn691) oocytes, we detected cortical ER patches as well as aberrant granules of the RNA-binding proteins, PAB-1, MEX-3, and CGH-1. Taken together, our results suggest the possibility that the spatial organization of RNA binding proteins may regulate the translation of mRNAs associated with the ER that in turn, controls the organization of the ER in the adult germ line.
- early development