Fertility depends on germline stem cell proliferation, meiosis and gametogenesis, yet how these key transitions are coordinated is unclear. In C. elegans, we show that GLP-1/Notch signaling functions in the germline to modulate oocyte growth when sperm are available for fertilization and the major sperm protein (MSP) hormone is present. Reduction-of-function mutations in glp-1 cause oocytes to grow abnormally large when MSP is present and Galpha(s)-adenylate cyclase signaling in the gonadal sheath cells is active. By contrast, gain-of-function glp-1 mutations lead to the production of small oocytes. Surprisingly, proper oocyte growth depends on distal tip cell signaling involving the redundant function of GLP-1 ligands LAG-2 and APX-1. GLP-1 signaling also affects two cellular oocyte growth processes, actomyosin-dependent cytoplasmic streaming and oocyte cellularization. glp-1 reduction-of-function mutants exhibit elevated rates of cytoplasmic streaming and delayed cellularization. GLP-1 signaling in oocyte growth depends in part on the downstream function of the FBF-1/2 PUF RNA-binding proteins. Furthermore, abnormal oocyte growth in glp-1 mutants, but not the inappropriate differentiation of germline stem cells, requires the function of the cell death pathway. The data support a model in which GLP-1 function in MSP-dependent oocyte growth is separable from its role in the proliferation versus meiotic entry decision. Thus, two major germline signaling centers, distal GLP-1 activation and proximal MSP signaling, coordinate several spatially and temporally distinct processes by which germline stem cells differentiate into functional oocytes.
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