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Dev Biol. 2006 Apr 1;292(1):129-41. Epub 2006 Feb 2.

Separate pathways of RNA recruitment lead to the compartmentalization of the zebrafish germ plasm.

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Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 425-G Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The maternal RNAs vasa, dead end, nanos1, and daz-like all become localized to the peripheral ends of the first and second cleavage furrows, where they form part of the zebrafish germ plasm. We show that aggregates of a first class of germ plasm components, which include dead end, nanos1, and vasa RNAs, are initially present in a wide cortical band at the animal pole. Aggregates containing these three RNAs appear to be associated with f-actin, which during the first cell cycle undergoes a microtubule-dependent movement towards the periphery as well as circumferential alignment. These cytoskeletal rearrangements lead to the further aggregation of particles containing these RNAs and their concomitant recruitment to the forming furrow. Aggregates containing a second class of germ plasm RNA components, which include the transcript for daz-like, translocate along the plane of the cortex towards the animal pole, where they are recruited to the germ plasm. After recruitment to the furrow, these two classes of RNAs occupy overlapping yet distinct regions of the germ plasm, and this arrangement is maintained during the early cleavage stages. Our observations suggest that separate pathways of RNA recruitment facilitate the compartmentalization of the zebrafish germ plasm.

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