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The COC utilizes prion-like mechanisms

After symmetry breaking, localized Balbiani body precursors continue to nucleate around the COC and within a novel nuclear cleft that we discovered. As the Balbiani body aggregate becomes tighter, the nuclear cleft gradually rounds out, and finally, gives rise to a mature compact and spherical Balbiani body (figure below). Bucky ball (buc) is the only protein known to be required for Bb formation in any species. Buc likely functions as a prion-like protein, and our data shows that the oocyte utilizes prion-like mechanisms to form the Bb.

 

In this project we aim to understand how the COC regulates the nucleation of the Balbiani body, and ask two major questions:

1. How does the COC localize Buc during and after symmetry breaking?

2. How does the COC regulate the nucleation of localized granules into the a mature Balbiani body?

We are taking a genetic approach by generating CRISPR/Cas9 mutants to study COC mechanisms and have developed an unbiased stage specific proteomics method to find novel factors and regulators of specific steps in COC functions.

Dissecting polarization mechanisms downstream to the COC