Maternal mRNA and protein synthesis in the embryo

P. R. Gross, K. W. Gross, A. I. Skoultchi, J. V. Ruderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


According to the masked maternal messenger RNA hypothesis, a large part if not all the protein synthesis of early development is directed by mRNA already present in the cytoplasm of unfertilized eggs. This mRNA is supposed to be synthesized during oogenesis and stored in some unavailable form until some later time in development, when it is selectively associated with the translational machinery. To the indirect evidence, which is nevertheless very strong, there can now be added a direct proof of the hypothesis for the case of histone mRNA. The 4 main histones of sea urchin embryos are synthesized on small polyribosomes, directed in part by newly synthesized messages that sediment as a group at about 9S. Some histone synthesis survives total transcription block, however, suggesting that maternal histone mRNA exists. In competition hybridization experiments, the egg RNA is shown to contain sequences characteristic of functional, embryonic histone mRNA. The competing RNA is localized in ribonucleoprotein particles of egg homogenates that sediment at 20-40S. These same particles contain RNA that stimulates a cell free heterologous system to synthesize sea urchin histones. The application of these facts to some problems of translation control and of development is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-262
Number of pages19
JournalActa Endocrinologica
Issue number180 sup
StatePublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal mRNA and protein synthesis in the embryo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this