Cyclins regulate progression through the cell cycle. Control of cyclin levels is essential in Drosophila oogenesis for the four synchronous divisions that generate the 16 cell germ line cyst and for ensuring that one cell in each cyst, the oocyte, is arrested in meiosis, while the remaining fifteen cells become polyploid nurse cells. Changes in cyclin levels could be achieved by regulating transcription, translation or protein stability. The proteasome limits cyclin protein levels in the Drosophila ovary, but the mechanisms regulating RNA turnover or translation remain largely unclear. Here, we report the identification of twin , a homolog of the yeast CCR4 deadenylase. We show that twin is important for the number and synchrony of cyst divisions and oocyte fate. Consistent with the deadenylase activity of CCR4 in yeast, our data suggest that Twin controls germ line cyst development by regulating poly(A) tail lengths of several targets including Cyclin A ( CycA ) RNA. twin mutants exhibit very low expression of Bag-of-marbles (Bam), a regulator of cyst division, indicating that Twin/Ccr4 activity is necessary for wild-type Bam expression. Lowering the levels of CycA or increasing the levels of Bam suppresses the defects we observe in twin ovaries, implicating CycA and Bam as downstream effectors of Twin. We propose that Twin/Ccr4 functions during early oogenesis to coordinate cyst division, oocyte fate specification and egg chamber maturation.
Animal oocytes undergo a highly conserved developmental arrest in prophase of meiosis I. Often this marks a period of rapid growth for the oocyte and is necessary to coordinate meiotic progression with the developmental events of oogenesis. In Drosophila , the oocyte develops within a 16-cell germline cyst. Throughout much of oogenesis, the oocyte remains in prophase of meiosis I. By contrast, its 15 mitotic sisters enter the endocycle and become polyploid in preparation for their role as nurse cells. How germline cysts establish and maintain these two independent cell cycles is unknown. We demonstrate a role for the p21 CIP /p27 Kip1 /p57 Kip2 -like cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (cki) dacapo in the maintenance of the meiotic cycle in Drosophila oocytes. Our data indicate that it is through the differential regulation of the cki Dacapo that two modes of cell-cycle regulation are independently maintained within the common cytoplasm of ovarian cysts.