Prospects & Overviews
Vasa genes: Emerging roles in the germ line and in multipotent cells
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2010
Copyright © 2010 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 32, Issue 7, pages 626–637, July 2010
How to Cite
Gustafson, E. A. and Wessel, G. M. (2010), Vasa genes: Emerging roles in the germ line and in multipotent cells. Bioessays, 32: 626–637. doi: 10.1002/bies.201000001
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2010
- germ line;
- multipotent cells;
- primordial germ cell;
Sexually reproducing metazoans establish a cell lineage during development that is ultimately dedicated to gamete production. Work in a variety of animals suggests that a group of conserved molecular determinants act in this germ line maintenance and function. The most universal of these genes are Vasa and Vasa-like DEAD-box RNA helicase genes. However, recent evidence indicates that Vasa genes also function in other cell types, distinct from the germ line. Here we evaluate our current understanding of Vasa function and its regulation during development, addressing Vasa's emerging role in multipotent cells. We also explore the evolutionary diversification of the N-terminal domain of this gene and how this impacts the association of Vasa with nuage-like perinuclear structures.