Student Author(s)

Colin Conine

Academic Program

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides


Gametogenesis is a thermosensitive process in numerous metazoans, ranging from worms to man. In Caenorhabditis elegans, a variety of RNA-binding proteins that associate with germ-line nuage (P granules), including the Piwi-clade argonaute PRG-1, have been implicated in maintaining fertility at elevated temperature. Here we describe the role of two AGO-class paralogs, alg-3 (T22B3.2) and alg-4 (ZK757.3), in promoting thermotolerant male fertility. A rescuing GFP::alg-3 transgene is localized to P granules beginning at the late pachytene stage of male gametogenesis. alg-3/4 double mutants lack a subgroup of small RNAs, the 26G-RNAs which target and appear to down-regulate numerous spermatogenesis-expressed mRNAs. These findings add to a growing number of AGO pathways required for thermotolerant fertility in C. elegans and support a model in which AGOs and their small RNA cofactors function to promote robustness in gene-expression networks.

DOI of Published Version



Conine CC, Batista PJ, Gu W, Claycomb JM, Chavez DA, Shirayama M, Mello CC (2010) The Argonautes ALG-3 and ALG-4 are required for spermatogenesis-specific 26G-RNAs and thermotolerant sperm in Caenorhabditis elegans. PNAS 107:3588-3593. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID