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Formation of the bicoid morphogen gradient: an mRNA gradient dictates the protein gradient


Spirov, A; Fahmy, K; Schneider, M; Frei, E; Noll, M; Baumgartner, S (2009). Formation of the bicoid morphogen gradient: an mRNA gradient dictates the protein gradient. Development, 136(4):605-614.

Abstract

The Bicoid (Bcd) protein gradient is generally believed to be established in pre-blastoderm Drosophila embryos by the diffusion of Bcd protein after translation of maternal mRNA, which serves as a strictly localized source of Bcd at the anterior pole. However, we previously published evidence that the Bcd gradient is preceded by a bcd mRNA gradient. Here, we have revisited and extended this observation by showing that the bcd mRNA and Bcd protein gradient profiles are virtually identical at all times. This confirms our previous conclusion that the Bcd gradient is produced by a bcd mRNA gradient rather than by diffusion. Based on our observation that bcd mRNA colocalizes with Staufen (Stau), we propose that the bcd mRNA gradient forms by a novel mechanism involving quasi-random active transport of a Stau-bcd mRNA complex through a nonpolar microtubular network, which confines the bcd mRNA to the cortex of the embryo.

Abstract

The Bicoid (Bcd) protein gradient is generally believed to be established in pre-blastoderm Drosophila embryos by the diffusion of Bcd protein after translation of maternal mRNA, which serves as a strictly localized source of Bcd at the anterior pole. However, we previously published evidence that the Bcd gradient is preceded by a bcd mRNA gradient. Here, we have revisited and extended this observation by showing that the bcd mRNA and Bcd protein gradient profiles are virtually identical at all times. This confirms our previous conclusion that the Bcd gradient is produced by a bcd mRNA gradient rather than by diffusion. Based on our observation that bcd mRNA colocalizes with Staufen (Stau), we propose that the bcd mRNA gradient forms by a novel mechanism involving quasi-random active transport of a Stau-bcd mRNA complex through a nonpolar microtubular network, which confines the bcd mRNA to the cortex of the embryo.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:February 2009
Deposited On:05 Feb 2010 10:19
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 15:12
Publisher:Company of Biologists
ISSN:0950-1991
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.031195
PubMed ID:19168676

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