Actomyosin structures and their function in the C. elegans germline syncytium

Syncytial architecture is an evolutionary-conserved feature of the germline across species, from insects to humans, and plays a crucial role in organism fertility. During gametogenesis, germ cells undergo incomplete cytokinesis giving rise to multiple germ cell nuclei connected to each other through stable intercellular bridges sharing a common cytoplasm. Interestingly, these intercellular bridges are enriched in actomyosin regulators. Recent studies suggested actomyosin regulators are important in the stabilization of germ cell intercellular bridges, however the role of contractility in the maintenance of germline structure remains poorly understood.

We are using the Caenorhabditis elegans gonad as a model to study mechanobiological properties of the germline syncytium and the role played by various actomyosin machinery structural components and regulators.

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