P-body-like condensates in the germline

Madeline Cassani, Geraldine Seydoux

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


P-bodies are cytoplasmic condensates that accumulate low-translation mRNAs for temporary storage before translation or degradation. P-bodies have been best characterized in yeast and mammalian tissue culture cells. We describe here related condensates in the germline of animal models. Germline P-bodies have been reported at all stages of germline development from primordial germ cells to gametes. The activity of the universal germ cell fate regulator, Nanos, is linked to the mRNA decay function of P-bodies, and spatially-regulated condensation of P-body like condensates in embryos is required to localize mRNA regulators to primordial germ cells. In most cases, however, it is not known whether P-bodies represent functional compartments or non-functional condensation by-products that arise when ribonucleoprotein complexes saturate the cytoplasm. We speculate that the ubiquity of P-body-like condensates in germ cells reflects the strong reliance of the germline on cytoplasmic, rather than nuclear, mechanisms of gene regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • Germ cells
  • Germ granules
  • Germline
  • Nanos
  • P-body
  • RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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