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Nature. 2002 Dec 12;420(6916):682-6.

Asymmetric inheritance of centrosomally localized mRNAs during embryonic cleavages.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.


During development, different cell fates are generated by cell-cell interactions or by the asymmetric distribution of patterning molecules. Asymmetric inheritance is known to occur either through directed transport along actin microfilaments into one daughter cell or through capture of determinants by a region of the cortex inherited by one daughter. Here we report a third mechanism of asymmetric inheritance in a mollusc embryo. Different messenger RNAs associate with centrosomes in different cells and are subsequently distributed asymmetrically during division. The segregated mRNAs are diffusely distributed in the cytoplasm and then localize, in a microtubule-dependent manner, to the pericentriolar matrix. During division, they dissociate from the core mitotic centrosome and move by means of actin filaments to the presumptive animal daughter cell cortex. In experimental cells with two interphase centrosomes, mRNAs accumulate on the correct centrosome, indicating that differences between centrosomes control mRNA targeting. Blocking the accumulation of mRNAs on the centrosome shows that this event is required for subsequent cortical localization. These events produce a complex pattern of mRNA localization, in which different messages distinguish groups of cells with the same birth order rank and similar developmental potentials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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