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.