DOI: 10.1093/g3journal/jkae028 ISSN: 2160-1836

A transcriptomics-based RNAi screen for regulators of meiosis and early stages of oocyte development in Drosophila melanogaster

Stacie E Hughes, Andrew Price, Salam Briggs, Cynthia Staber, Morgan James, Madelyn Anderson, R Scott Hawley
  • Genetics (clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


A properly regulated series of developmental and meiotic events must occur to ensure the successful production of gametes. In Drosophila melanogaster ovaries, these early developmental and meiotic events include the production of the 16-cell cyst, meiotic entry, synaptonemal complex (SC) formation, recombination, and oocyte specification. In order to identify additional genes involved in early oocyte development and meiosis, we reanalyzed three published single-cell RNA-seq data sets from Drosophila ovaries, using vasa (germline) together with c(3)G, cona, and corolla (SC) as markers. Our analysis generated a list of 2743 co-expressed genes. Many known SC-related and early oocyte development genes fell within the top 500 genes on this list, as ranked by the abundance and specificity of each gene’s expression across individual analyses. We tested 526 available RNAi lines containing shRNA constructs in germline compatible vectors representing 331 of the top 500 genes. We assessed targeted ovaries for SC formation and maintenance, oocyte specification, cyst development, and double-strand break dynamics. Six uncharacterized genes exhibited early developmental defects. SC and developmental defects were observed for additional genes not well characterized in the early ovary. Interestingly, in some lines with developmental delays, meiotic events could still be completed once oocyte specificity occurred indicating plasticity in meiotic timing. These data indicate that a transcriptomics approach can be used to identify genes involved in functions in a specific cell type in the Drosophila ovary.

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