Mechanisms underlying maternal inheritance of mitochondrial genome
Autophagy functions during early embryogenesis

    ! Autophagy is induced upon fertilization, participates in sperm inherited organelles degradation and serves as a mechanism to prevent paternal mitochondria inheritance. Upon fertilization several components of the spermatozoon enter the oocyte and are then degraded.  We revealed that autophagy is required for their degradation and identified poly-ubiquitination as one mark for their targetting. Autophagy degradation of the mitochondria is required to insure uniparental mitochondrial DNA inheritance.

        > Al Rawi et al., 2011, in collaboration with Renaud Legouis and Lynn Boyd’ s labs.

  1. fig: Animation showing the early steps after fertilization of a C. elegans embryo. Spermatozoon organelles enter the ooplasm and trigger a fast autophagy response. Interfering with this response stabilizes these organelles (membranous organelles and mitochondria).

Main experimental approaches:

  1. -C. elegans developmental cell biology technics:

    C. elegans transgenesis (biolistic, MosSci) for GFP/mCherry fusion proteins expression, genetics and reverse-genetics (RNAi), micro-injection. Fluorescent cell compartments dyes/markers, immuno-stainings, live spinning disk confocal microscopy and classical molecular biology approaches like “Gateway” and conventional  cloning, QPCR, Western-blot...

Key words: C. elegans embryo, cell division, autophagy in C. elegans