RNA degradation is required for the germ-cell to maternal transition in Drosophila

Patrick Blatt, Siu Wah Wong-Deyrup, Alicia McCarthy, Shane Breznak, Matthew D. Hurton, Maitreyi Upadhyay, Benjamin Bennink, Justin Camacho, Miler T. Lee, Prashanth Rangan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In sexually reproducing animals, the oocyte contributes a large supply of RNAs that are essential to launch development upon fertilization. The mechanisms that regulate the composition of the maternal RNA contribution during oogenesis are unclear. Here, we show that a subset of RNAs expressed during the early stages of oogenesis is subjected to regulated degradation during oocyte specification. Failure to remove these RNAs results in oocyte dysfunction and death. We identify the RNA-degrading Super Killer complex and No-Go Decay factor Pelota as key regulators of oogenesis via targeted degradation of specific RNAs expressed in undifferentiated germ cells. These regulators target RNAs enriched for cytidine sequences that are bound by the polypyrimidine tract binding protein Half pint. Thus, RNA degradation helps orchestrate a germ cell-to-maternal transition that gives rise to the maternal contribution to the zygote.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2984-2994.e7
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number14
StatePublished - 26 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila
  • NGD
  • Pelota
  • RNA
  • Ski complex
  • degradation
  • germ cell
  • maternal RNAs
  • oocyte
  • oogenesis
  • ribosomes


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