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Genetics. Apr 2000; 154(4): 1649–1662.
PMCID: PMC1461017

The Drosophila wispy gene is required for RNA localization and other microtubule-based events of meiosis and early embryogenesis.


RNAs are localized by microtubule-based pathways to both the anterior and posterior poles of the developing Drosophila oocyte. We describe a new gene, wispy, required for localization of mRNAs to both poles of the egg. Embryos from wispy mothers arrest development after abnormal oocyte meiosis and failure of pronuclei to fuse. Our analysis of spindle and chromosome movements during meiosis reveals defects in spindle structures correlated with very high frequencies of chromosome nondisjunction and loss. Spindle defects include abnormally shaped spindles, spindle spurs, and ectopic spindles associated with lost chromosomes, as well as mispositioning of the meiosis II spindles. The polar body nuclei do not associate with their normal monastral arrays of microtubules, the sperm aster is reduced in size, and the centrosomes often dissociate from a mitotic spindle that forms in association with the male pronucleus. We show that wispy is required to recruit or maintain known centrosomal proteins with two types of microtubule organizing centers (MTOCs): (1) the central MTOC that forms between the meiosis II tandem spindles and (2) the centrosomes of the mitotic spindle. We propose that the wispy gene product functions directly in several microtubule-based events in meiosis and early embryogenesis and speculate about its possible mode of action.

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