Independent and coordinate trafficking of single Drosophila germ plasm mRNAs

Shawn C. Little, Kristina S. Sinsimer, Jack J. Lee, Eric F. Wieschaus, Elizabeth R. Gavis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Messenger RNA localization is a conserved mechanism for spatial control of protein synthesis, with key roles in generating cellular and developmental asymmetry. Whereas different transcripts may be targeted to the same subcellular domain, the extent to which their localization is coordinated is unclear. Using quantitative single-molecule imaging, we analysed the assembly of Drosophila germ plasm mRNA granules inherited by nascent germ cells. We find that the germ-cell-destined transcripts nanos, cyclin B and polar granule component travel within the oocyte as ribonucleoprotein particles containing single mRNA molecules but co-assemble into multi-copy heterogeneous granules selectively at the posterior of the oocyte. The stoichiometry and dynamics of assembly indicate a defined stepwise sequence. Our data suggest that co-packaging of these transcripts ensures their effective segregation to germ cells. In contrast, compartmentalization of the germline determinant oskar mRNA into different granules limits its entry into germ cells. This exclusion is required for proper germline development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-568
Number of pages11
JournalNature cell biology
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 5 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology

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