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Open Access Short Report

Conserved requirement for DEAD-box RNA helicase Gemin3 in Drosophila oogenesis

Ruben J Cauchi

Author Affiliations

Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine & Surgery, University of Malta, Msida MSD 2080, Malta G.C

BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:120  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-120

Published: 23 February 2012



DEAD-box RNA helicase Gemin3 is an essential protein since its deficiency is lethal in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In addition to playing a role in transcriptional regulation and RNA silencing, as a core member of the SMN (survival of motor neurons) complex, Gemin3 is required for the biogenesis of spliceosomal snRNPs (small nuclear ribonucleoproteins), and axonal mRNA metabolism. Studies in the mouse and C. elegans revealed that loss of Gemin3 function has a negative impact on ovarian physiology and development.


This work reports on the generation and characterisation of gemin3 mutant germline clones in Drosophila adult females. Gemin3 was found to be required for the completion of oogenesis and its loss led to egg polarity defects, oocyte mislocalisation, and abnormal chromosome morphology. Canonical Cajal bodies were absent in the majority of gemin3 mutant egg chambers and histone locus bodies displayed an atypical morphology. snRNP distribution was perturbed so that on gemin3 loss, snRNP cytoplasmic aggregates (U bodies) were only visible in wild type.


These findings establish a conserved requirement for Gemin3 in Drosophila oogenesis. Furthermore, in view of the similarity to the phenotypes described previously in smn mutant germ cells, the present results confirm the close functional relationship between SMN and Gemin3 on a cellular level.

Drosophila; Gemin3; Germline; Oogenesis; Spinal muscular atrophy; Survival of motor neurons