The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 53: 169 - 176 (2009)

Vol 53, Issue 1

Developmental expression of Apnanos during oogenesis and embryogenesis in the parthenogenetic pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum

Developmental Expression Pattern | Published: 1 December 2008

Chun-Che Chang*1,2, Ting-Yu Huang1,3, Charles E. Cook1, Gee-Way Lin1, Chun-Liang Shih1 and Rita P.-Y. Chen3,4

1Laboratory for Genetics and Development, Department of Entomology, College of Bio-Resources and Agriculture, National Taiwan University, 2Institute of Biotechnology, College of Bio-Resources and Agriculture, National Taiwan University, 3Institute of Biochemical Sciences, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University and 4Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan


Among genes that are preferentially expressed in germ cells, nanos and vasa are the two most conserved germline markers in animals. Both genes are usually expressed in germ cells in the adult gonads, and often also during embryogenesis. Both nanos-first or vasa-first expression patterns have been observed in embryos, implying that the molecular networks governing germline development vary among species. Previously we identified Apvasa, a vasa homologue expressed in germ cells throughout all developmental stages in the parthenogenetic and viviparous pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. In asexual A. pisum, oogenesis is followed by embryogenesis, and both occur within the ovarioles. In order to understand the temporal and spatial distribution of nanos versus vasa during oogenesis and embryogenesis, we isolated a nanos homologue, Apnanos, and studied its expression. In adults, Apnanos is preferentially expressed in the ovaries. In early embryos, Apnanos transcripts are localized to the cytoplasm of cellularizing germ cells, and soon thereafter are restricted to the newly segregated germ cells in the posterior region of the cellularized blastoderm. These results strongly suggest that the Apnanos gene is a germline marker and is involved in germline specification in asexual A. pisum. However, during the middle stages of development, when germline migration occurs, Apnanos is not expressed in the migrating germ cells expressing Apvasa, suggesting that Apnanos is not directly associated with germline migration.


Acyrthosiphon pisum, germ cell, nanos, pea aphid

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