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Mol Cell. 2000 Jan;5(1):181-7.

VASA mediates translation through interaction with a Drosophila yIF2 homolog.

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Abteilung Molekulare Entwicklungsbiologie Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen, Germany.


The Drosophila gene vasa (vas) encodes an RNA-binding protein required for embryonic patterning and germ cell specification. In vas mutants, translation of several germline mRNAs is reduced. Here we show that VAS interacts directly with the Drosophila homolog of yeast translation initiation factor 2, encoded by a novel gene, dIF2. Embryos produced by vas/+; dIF2/+ females have pattern defects and fewer germline progenitor cells, indicating a functional interaction between endogenous vas and dIF2 activities. Mutations in other translation initiation factors do not enhance the vas phenotype, suggesting that dIF2 has a particular role in germ plasm function. We conclude that VAS regulates translation of germline mRNAs by specific interaction with dIF2, an essential factor conserved from bacteria to humans.

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