UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

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Document Type



Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Developmental Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides


RNA regulation is essential to successful reproduction. Messenger RNAs delivered from parent to progeny govern early embryonic development. RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are the key effectors of this process, regulating the translation and stability of parental transcripts to control cell fate specification events prior to zygotic gene activation. The KH-domain RBP MEX-3 is conserved from nematode to human. It was first discovered in Caenorhabditis elegans, where it is essential for anterior cell fate and embryo viability. Here, we show that loss of the endogenous mex-3 3 UTR disrupts its germline expression pattern. An allelic series of 3 UTR deletion variants identify repressing regions of the UTR and demonstrate that repression is not precisely coupled to reproductive success. We also show that several RBPs regulate mex-3 mRNA through its 3 UTR to define its unique germline spatiotemporal expression pattern. Additionally, we find that both poly(A) tail length control and the translation initiation factor IFE-3 contribute to its expression pattern. Together, our results establish the importance of the mex-3 3 UTR to reproductive health and its expression in the germline. Our results suggest that additional mechanisms control MEX-3 function when 3 UTR regulation is compromised.


Fluorescence imaging, Oocytes, RNA-binding proteins, Gene expression, RNA interference, Quantitative analysis, Messenger RNA, Fecundity

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Copyright: © 2021 Albarqi, Ryder. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



Albarqi MMY, Ryder SP. The endogenous mex-3 3´UTR is required for germline repression and contributes to optimal fecundity in C. elegans. PLoS Genet. 2021 Aug 23;17(8):e1009775. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009775. PMID: 34424904; PMCID: PMC8412283. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

PLoS genetics

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.