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Int Rev Cytol. 2001;203:63-91.

RNA localization and germ cell determination in Xenopus.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


In many organisms the proper development of the embryo depends on the asymmetrical distribution of maternal RNAs and proteins in the egg. Although the Xenopus oocyte is radially symmetrical it contains distinct populations of maternal RNAs that are localized either in the animal or vegetal pole. The process of localization of RNAs in Xenopus oocytes occurs during the long period of oocyte differentiation and growth that is accompanied by the elaboration of oocyte polarity. Some of the vegetally localized RNAs, such as Vg1, VegT, and Xwnt11, are involved in axial patterning and germ layer specification. Others, such as Xdazl and Xcat2, which are located in the germ plasm, are likely to play a role in the specification of germ cell fate. We will discuss the different aspects of RNA localization in Xenopus in the context of the differentiation of the germ cells and the development of the oocyte polarity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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