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Mech Dev. 2007 May;124(5):350-63. Epub 2007 Feb 21.

The maternally localized RNA fatvg is required for cortical rotation and germ cell formation.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Fatvg is a localized maternal transcript that translocates to the vegetal cortex of Xenopus laevis oocytes through both the METRO and Late RNA localization pathways. It is a member of a gene family that functions in vesicular trafficking. Depletion of the maternal store of fatvg mRNA results in a dual phenotype in which embryos are ventralized and also lack primordial germ cells. This complex fatvg loss of function phenotype is the result of stabilization of the dorsalizing factor beta-catenin at the vegetal pole and the inability of the germ cell determinants to move to their proper locations. This is coincident with the inhibition of cortical rotation and the abnormal aggregation of the germ plasm. Fatvg protein is located at the periphery of vesicles in the oocyte and embryo, supporting its proposed role in vesicular trafficking in the embryo. These results point to a common fundamental mechanism that is regulated by fatvg through which germ cell determinants and dorsalizing factors segregate during early development.

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