nanos is required for formation of the spectrosome, a germ cell-specific organelle



Germ cell identity and development are controlled by autonomous cues in the germ plasm as well as by interactions between germ cells and somatic cells. Here, we investigate the formation of a germ cell-specific organelle, the spectrosome. We find that spectrosome formation is independent of germ cell–soma interactions and is autonomous to the germ cells. Furthermore, the germ plasm component nanos (nos) is essential for spectrosome formation. The role of nos in spectrosome formation is independent of its role in germ cell survival; nos mutant germ cells that are prevented from undergoing programmed cell death still fail to form spectrosomes. Thus, nos is required to regulate the formation of this germ cell-specific organelle, further supporting a role for nos in promoting germ cell identity. Developmental Dynamics 234:22–27, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.