• sea urchin;
  • starfish;
  • sea star;
  • primordial germ cells;
  • germ line


Nanos is an essential factor of germ line success in all animals tested. This gene encodes a Zn-finger RNA-binding protein that in complex with its partner pumilio binds to and changes the fate of several known transcripts. We summarize here the documented functions of Nanos in several key organisms, and then emphasize echinoderms as a working model for how nanos expression is regulated. Nanos presence outside of the target cells is often detrimental to the animal, and in sea urchins, nanos expression appears to be regulated at every step of transcription, and post-transcriptional activity, making this gene product exciting, every which way. genesis 52:279–286. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.