MCB seminars: 11/11/14

Germ cell specification in insects. (Extavour lab)
Taro Nakamura


  • germline markers: Piwi and vasa
  • preformation mode of germ cells — flies, frogs, fish
  • induction mode of germ cells – salamanders + mice
  • most animals use the induction mode. More likely ancesteral
  • Many arthropods do both. Diptera just do preformed mode. Orhoptera just do induction. Cricket just do induction.
  • BMP4 is required for the generation of primordial germ cells in mouse. Blimp is a critical downstream factor.


  • Piwi expressing cells arise de novo during cricket development, mark germ cell precursors
  • blimp1 is co-expresssed with pMad in mesoderm.
  • BMP signaling is also required in cricket for PGC specification. (by knockdown and over-expression)
  • blimp1 is also conserved in cricket germ cell specification.
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