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Development. 2003 Mar;130(5):859-71.

Maelstrom, a Drosophila spindle-class gene, encodes a protein that colocalizes with Vasa and RDE1/AGO1 homolog, Aubergine, in nuage.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Box 357350, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7350, USA.

Abstract

A hallmark of germline cells across the animal kingdom is the presence of perinuclear, electron-dense granules called nuage. In many species examined, Vasa, a DEAD-box RNA helicase, is found in these morphologically distinct particles. Despite its evolutionary conservation, the function of nuage remains obscure. We have characterized a null allele of maelstrom (mael) and shown that Maelstrom protein is localized to nuage in a Vasa-dependent manner. By phenotypic characterization, we have defined maelstrom as a spindle-class gene that affects Vasa modification. In a nuclear transport assay, we have determined that Maelstrom shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm, which may indicate a nuclear origin for nuage components. Interestingly, Maelstrom, but not Vasa, depends on two genes involved in RNAi phenomena, aubergine and spindle-E (spn-E), for its nuage localization. Furthermore, maelstrom mutant ovaries show mislocalization of two proteins involved in the microRNA and/or RNAi pathways, Dicer and Argonaute2, suggesting a potential connection between nuage and the microRNA-pathway.

PMID:
12538514
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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