Maternal-effect Genes (maternal-effect + gene)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Maternal-effect gene Ces5/Ooep/Moep19/Floped is essential for oocyte cytoplasmic lattice formation and embryonic development at the maternal-zygotic stage transition

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 8 2010
Fumi Tashiro
In a search for genes specifically expressed in mouse embryonic stem cells, we identified one we called Ces5. We found that it corresponded to the Ooep gene, which was recently reported to be expressed specifically in oocytes. Mouse Ces5/Ooep, also called Moep19 or Floped, encoded a 164-amino acid protein, which was detected in the cytoplasm of developing and mature oocytes and in embryos throughout the preimplantation period. To examine its function, we carried out targeted disruption of this gene. The Ces5/Ooep -null mice were grossly normal, but the females were infertile. Although the ovaries and ovulation appeared normal, the embryos from Ces5/Ooep -null females mated with wild-type males showed developmental arrest at the two- or four-cell stage. In addition, their first cleavage was considerably delayed and often asymmetrical. Thus, Ces5/Ooep is a maternal-effect gene. By electron microscopy, we found that the eggs from Ces5/Ooep -null females lacked oocyte cytoplasmic lattices (CPLs), which have long been predicted to function as a storage form for components that are maternally contributed to the early embryo. Further analysis showed that CES5/OOEP was directly associated with the CPLs. These results indicate that CES5/OOEP is an essential component of the CPLs and is required for embryonic development at the maternal-zygotic stage transition. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 7 2009
Timothy A. Linksvayer
The equilibrium sequence diversity of genes within a population and the rate of sequence divergence between populations or species depends on a variety of factors, including expression pattern, mutation rate, nature of selection, random drift, and mating system. Here, we extend population genetic theory developed for maternal-effect genes to predict the equilibrium polymorphism within species and sequence divergence among species for genes with social effects on fitness. We show how the fitness effects of genes, mating system, and genetic system affect predicted gene polymorphism. We find that, because genes with indirect social effects on fitness effectively experience weaker selection, they are expected to harbor higher levels of polymorphism relative to genes with direct fitness effects. The relative increase in polymorphism is proportional to the inverse of the genetic relatedness between individuals expressing the gene and their social partners that experience the fitness effects of the gene. We find a similar pattern of more rapid divergence between populations or species for genes with indirect social effects relative to genes with direct effects. We focus our discussion on the social insects, organisms with diverse indirect genetic effects, mating and genetic systems, and we suggest specific examples for testing our predictions with emerging sociogenomic tools. [source]

Microevolutionary support for a developmental hourglass: gene expression patterns shape sequence variation and divergence in Drosophila

Tami Cruickshank
SUMMARY A central goal of evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo) is to synthesize comparative molecular developmental genetics and its description of the dynamic relationship between genotype and phenotype with the microevolutionary processes (mutation, random drift, and selection) of population genetics. To this end, we analyzed sequence variation of five gene classes that act sequentially to shape early embryo development in Drosophila: maternal, gap, pair-rule, segment polarity, and segment identity genes. We found two related patterns: (1) a microevolutionary pattern, wherein relative sequence variation within species is 2- to 3-fold higher for maternal-effect genes than for any other gene class; and, (2) a macroevolutionary pattern, wherein the relative sequence divergence among species for maternal-effect genes is 2- to 4-fold greater than for any other gene class. Both patterns are qualitatively and quantitatively consistent with the predictions of microevolutionary theory. Our findings connect within-species genetic variation to between-species divergence and shed light on the controversy over the existence of a "developmental hourglass," where mid-embryonic stages are more evolutionarily constrained than either earlier or later stages. Because maternal-effect genes experience relaxed selective constraint relative to zygotic-effect genes, they explore a wider mutational and phenotypic space. As a result, early acting maternal-effect genes diverge more widely across taxa and thereby broaden the base of the developmental hourglass. In contrast, later acting zygotic genes are relatively more constrained and limited in their diversification across taxa, narrowing the waist of the developmental hourglass. This pattern is obscured by genes with both maternal and zygotic expression, which experience the strongest evolutionary constraint. [source]

Gene structure and expression of nanos (nos) and oskar (osk) orthologues of the vector mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus

J. Juhn
Abstract The products of the maternal-effect genes, nanos (nos) and oskar (osk), are important for the development of germ cells in insects. Furthermore, these genes have been proposed as candidates for donating functional DNA regulatory sequences for use in gene drive systems to control transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens. The nos and osk genes of the cosmopolitan vector mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, encode proteins with domains common to orthologues found in other mosquitoes. Expression analyses support the conclusion that the role of these genes is conserved generally among members of the nematocera. Hybridization in situ analyses reveal differences in mRNA distribution in early embryos in comparison with the cyclorraphan, Drosophila melanogaster, highlighting a possible feature in the divergence of the clades each insect represents. [source]