DAF-18/PTEN inhibits germline zygotic gene activation during primordial germ cell quiescence.
Quiescence, an actively-maintained reversible state of cell cycle arrest, is not well understood. PTEN is one of the most frequently lost tumor suppressors in human cancers and regulates quiescence of stem cells and cancer cells. The sole PTEN ortholog in Caenorhabditis elegans is daf-18. In a C. elegans loss-of-function mutant for daf-18, primordial germ cells (PGCs) divide inappropriately in L1 larvae hatched into starvation conditions, in a TOR-dependent manner. Here, we further investigated the role of daf-18 in maintaining PGC quiescence in L1 starvation. We found that maternal or zygotic daf-18 is sufficient to maintain cell cycle quiescence, that daf-18 acts in the germ line and soma, and that daf-18 affects timing of PGC divisions in fed animals. Importantly, our results also implicate daf-18 in repression of germline zygotic gene activation, though not in germline fate specification. However, TOR is less important to germline zygotic gene expression, suggesting that in the absence of food, daf-18/PTEN prevents inappropriate germline zygotic gene activation and cell division by distinct mechanisms.
Fry, AL; Webster, AK; Burnett, J; Chitrakar, R; Baugh, LR; Hubbard, EJA
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