Germ Cell-less Promotes Centrosome Segregation to Induce Germ Cell Formation

Dorothy A. Lerit, Conrad W. Shebelut, Kristen J. Lawlor, Nasser M. Rusan, Elizabeth R. Gavis, Paul Schedl, Girish Deshpande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The primordial germ cells (PGCs) specified during embryogenesis serve as progenitors to the adult germline stem cells. In Drosophila, the proper specification and formation of PGCs require both centrosomes and germ plasm, which contains the germline determinants. Centrosomes are microtubule (MT)-organizing centers that ensure the faithful segregation of germ plasm into PGCs. To date, mechanisms that modulate centrosome behavior to engineer PGC development have remained elusive. Only one germ plasm component, Germ cell-less (Gcl), is known to play a role in PGC formation. Here, we show that Gcl engineers PGC formation by regulating centrosome dynamics. Loss of gcl leads to aberrant centrosome separation and elaboration of the astral MT network, resulting in inefficient germ plasm segregation and aborted PGC cellularization. Importantly, compromising centrosome separation alone is sufficient to mimic the gcl loss-of-function phenotypes. We conclude Gcl functions as a key regulator of centrosome separation required for proper PGC development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-839
Number of pages9
JournalCell Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 24 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


  • cell fate
  • centrosome
  • germ cell-less
  • germ cells
  • germ plasm
  • stem cells


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