Spatially restricted synthesis of Nanos protein in the Drosophila embryo is essential for anterior-posterior patterning. Nanos translation is restricted to the posterior of the embryo by translational repression of nanos mRNA throughout the bulk cytoplasm and selective activation of posteriorly localized nanos mRNA. A 90-nucleotide translational control element (TCE) mediates translational repression. We show that TCE function requires formation of a bipartite secondary structure that is recognized by Smaug repressor and at least one additional factor. We also demonstrate that translational activation requires the interaction of localization factors with sequences that overlap TCE structural motifs. The identification of separate but overlapping recognition motifs for translational repressors and localization factors provides a molecular mechanism for the switch between translational repression and activation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology