Localization of gurken RNA in Drosophila oogenesis requires elements in the 5' and 3' regions of the transcript

Guene L. Thio, Robert P. Ray, Gail Barcelo, Trudi Schüpbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


During Drosophila oogenesis, signaling between the germline and the soma leads to the establishment of polarity in the egg and embryo. This process involves the interaction of gurken (grk), a TGFα-like protein, with torpedo (top), the Drosophila EGF receptor (Egfr). In early stage egg chambers, grk RNA is present predominantly along the posterior cortex of the oocyte, and in mid stage egg chambers, the grk transcript becomes tightly localized to the future dorsal anterior corner of the oocyte. This localization of grk RNA restricts the distribution of Gurken protein and is critical in defining both the anterior-posterior and dorsal-ventral axes of the egg. We have determined the genomic sequence of the grk gene. By testing the requirement of various fragments of grk RNA in the localization process, we find localization signals present in both the 5' and 3' regions of the gene. Sequences in the 5' noncoding region allow for accumulation of the transcript within the oocyte in early stage egg chambers, while signals in the coding region and the 3'UTR are necessary for localization in mid to late stage egg chambers. Active translation is not required for localization of the grk RNA. The mechanism of gurken RNA localization, therefore, differs from that of other localized RNAs studied to date. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-446
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Drosophila
  • Gurken
  • Oogenesis
  • RNA localization
  • TGF-α


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