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Cell. 1989 Dec 1;59(5):881-92.

Structure of the Drosophila BicaudalD protein and its role in localizing the the posterior determinant nanos.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032.


Mutations in the BicaudalD (BicD) gene lead to a global reorganization of the Drosophila body pattern such that the head, thoracic, and anterior abdominal segments are replaced by posterior abdominal segments and terminalia. We first provide evidence that the primary cause of this phenotype is the inhibition of two anterior factors, bicoid and hunchback, by mislocalized activity of the posterior determinant nanos. We then describe the isolation of the BicD gene and show that it encodes a coiled-coil protein similar to the carboxy-terminal portion of the myosin heavy chain. Finally, we find that BicD protein is uniformly distributed throughout wild-type oocytes but is concentrated at the anterior pole of BicD mutant oocytes together with ectopic nanos activity. Taken together, these results suggest that BicD encodes a cytoskeleton-like protein involved in transporting or anchoring the nanos morphogen within the oocyte cytoplasm.

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