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Genetics. Jul 2001; 158(3): 1177–1188.
PMCID: PMC1461719

An interaction type of genetic screen reveals a role of the Rab11 gene in oskar mRNA localization in the developing Drosophila melanogaster oocyte.

Abstract

Abdomen and germ cell development of Drosophila melanogaster embryo requires proper localization of oskar mRNA to the posterior pole of the developing oocyte. oskar mRNA localization depends on complex cell biological events like cell-cell communication, dynamic rearrangement of the microtubule network, and function of the actin cytoskeleton of the oocyte. To investigate the cellular mechanisms involved, we developed a novel interaction type of genetic screen by which we isolated 14 dominant enhancers of a sensitized genetic background composed of mutations in oskar and in TropomyosinII, an actin binding protein. Here we describe the detailed analysis of two allelic modifiers that identify Drosophila Rab11, a gene encoding small monomeric GTPase. We demonstrate that mutation of the Rab11 gene, involved in various vesicle transport processes, results in ectopic localization of oskar mRNA, whereas localization of gurken and bicoid mRNAs and signaling between the oocyte and the somatic follicle cells are unaffected. We show that the ectopic oskar mRNA localization in the Rab11 mutants is a consequence of an abnormally polarized oocyte microtubule cytoskeleton. Our results indicate that the internal membranous structures play an important role in the microtubule organization in the Drosophila oocyte and, thus, in oskar RNA localization.

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Selected References

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