ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-190604-12
The vertebrate Balbiani body, germ plasm, and oocyte polarity
Jamieson-Lucy, A., Mullins, M.C.
Date: 2019
Source: Current topics in developmental biology   135: 1-34 (Chapter)
Registered Authors: Mullins, Mary C.
Keywords: Balbiani body, Bucky ball, Germ plasm, Maternal mRNA, Oocyte cyst, Oocyte polarity, PGC specification, RNA localization, Vertebrate oogenesis
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity/genetics*
  • Chromosomal Puffs/genetics*
  • Humans
  • Inheritance Patterns/genetics
  • Oocytes/cytology*
  • RNA, Messenger/genetics
  • RNA, Messenger/metabolism
  • Vertebrates/genetics*
PubMed: 31155356 Full text @ Curr. Top. Dev. Biol.
The fate of future generations depends on a high-quality germ line. For a female to successfully produce offspring, her oocytes must be successfully specified and their contents meticulously organized. Germ cells are specified by two general mechanisms: inductive and inherited. In the inductive mechanism, the primordial germ cells (PGCs) are induced by signals from the surrounding cells. In the inherited mechanism, PGCs are specified by passing localized germ plasm material from the oocyte to the future germ cells. The Balbiani body, a conserved oocyte aggregate, facilitates the organization of the oocyte into a polarized cell with discrete cytoplasmic domains, including localizing the germ plasm. In the mouse, the Balbiani body is implicated in oocyte survival, while in frogs and zebrafish the Balbiani body carries specific mRNAs to the vegetal pole. These asymmetric mRNAs form the foundation of the functionally polarized oocyte and play important roles in axial patterning and germ plasm formation of the embryo.