In most species, early germline development occurs in the absence of transcription with germline determinants subject to complex translational and post-translational regulations. Here, we report for the first time that early germline development is influenced by dynamic regulation of the proteasome system, previously thought to be ubiquitously expressed and toserve’housekeeping’ roles in controlling protein homeostasis.We show that proteasomes are present in a gradient with the highest levels in the animal hemisphere and extending into the vegetal hemisphere of Xenopus oocytes. This distribution changes dramatically during the oocyte-to-embryo transition, with proteasomes becoming enriched in and restricted to the animal hemisphere and therefore separated from vegetally localized germline determinants. We identify Dead-end1 (Dnd1), a master regulator of vertebrate germline development, as a novel substrate of the ubiquitin-independent proteasomes. In the oocyte, ubiquitin-independent proteasomal degradation acts together with translational repression to prevent premature accumulation of Dnd1 protein. In the embryo, artificially increasing ubiquitin-independent proteasomal degradation in the vegetal pole interferes with germline development. Our work thus reveals novel inhibitory functions and spatial regulation of the ubiquitin-independent proteasome during vertebrate germline development.
- Germline development
- Oocyte-to-embryo transition
- Ubiquitin-independent proteasome