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Effects of stress and aging on ribonucleoprotein assembly and function in the germ line

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In a variety of cell types, ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes play critical roles in regulating RNA metabolism. The germ line contains RNPs found also in somatic cells, such as processing (P) bodies and stress granules, as well as several RNPs unique to the germ line, including germ granules, nuage, Balbiani bodies, P granules, U bodies, and sponge bodies. Recent advances have identified a conserved response of germ line RNPs to environmental stresses such as nutritional stress and heat shock. The RNPs increase significantly in size based on cytology; their morphology and subcellular localization changes, and their composition changes. These dynamic changes are reversible when stresses diminish, and similar changes occur in response to aging or extended meiotic arrest prior to fertilization of oocytes. Intriguing correlations exist between the dynamics of the RNPs and the microtubule cytoskeleton and its motor proteins, suggesting a possible mechanism for the assembly and dissociation of the large RNP granules. Similarly, coordinated changes of the nuclear membrane and endoplasmic reticulum may also help unravel the regulatory mechanisms of RNP dynamics. Based on their composition, the RNPs are thought to regulate mRNA decay and/or translation, and initial support for some of these roles is now at hand. Ultimately, the question of why RNP remodeling occurs to such a large extent during a variety of stresses and aging remains to be fully answered, but a current attractive hypothesis is that the plasticity promotes the maintenance of oocyte quality. WIREs RNA 2014, 5:231–246. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1204 This article is categorized under: RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > RNA–Protein Complexes RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Disease RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Development

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A working model of the Drosophila egg chamber response to nutrient stress. In the presence of protein‐rich food, GFP::Yps particles are transported during stage 6 from the nurse cells to the oocyte along microtubule bundles (orange lines); they also move to the oocyte by diffusion (pink lines). In the presence of protein‐poor food, microtubules become cortically enriched, and transport is disrupted. GFP::Yps assembles into larger aggregates and accumulates in the perinuclear region of nurse cells. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2011 Elsevier)
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Plasticity of sponge bodies. (a and b) Distribution of Me31B::GFP in egg chambers with dispersed and reticulated sponge bodies. The oocyte is on the right, and some of the nurse cells are on the left. Note the reduction in diffuse cytoplasmic staining in (b) relative to (a). The nurse cell to oocyte boundary is marked by a dashed line in (b). (c and d) osk mRNA is dispersed in the cytoplasm when dispersed sponge bodies are present, and localizes to reticulated sponge bodies when these structures form (d). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2009 Wiley‐Liss, Inc)
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Euler diagram of germ line ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) induced by stress or aging and their shared components. Note that only selected components are shown. The focus is on shared components among the three RNP complexes induced by stress or aging in the germ line and components shared with P bodies and stress granules (but not those shared between P bodies and stress granules). Note that of the Caenorhabditis elegans proteins, only DCR‐1 and MEX‐3 (asterisks) localize to RNP granules induced by stress; all proteins listed localize to RNP granules induced by meiotic arrest/aging.
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RNA granules assemble in the Caenorhabditis elegans gonad core and oocytes in response to meiotic arrest or heat shock. (a–f) Fluorescent micrographs stained with SYTO 14 to visualize RNA. (a and b) RNA is distributed evenly throughout the core and oocyte cytoplasm of young wild‐type worms. Concave arrows indicate strongly staining nucleoli. (c and d) RNA is concentrated into discrete granules (arrows) in the core and oocytes of meiotically arrested oocytes in fog‐2(q71) worms. (e and f) RNA is concentrated into granules in the core and oocytes of wild‐type worms after 3 h of heat shock. (g) CGH‐1 is diffusely cytoplasmic and in small puncta in wild‐type oocytes. (h) CGH‐1 accumulates in large granules in arrested oocytes. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2008 Elsevier)
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RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Disease
RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Development
RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > RNA–Protein Complexes

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