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Mech Dev. 1991 Nov;35(3):213-25.

The maternal gene product D7 is not required for early Xenopus development.

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Ernst-Boehringer-Institut, Vienna, Austria.


The Xenopus D7 gene codes for a novel protein whose expression is restricted to early development. D7 protein is synthesized for the first time during oocyte maturation (1988, Genes Dev. 2, 1296-1306). Injection of D7 RNA into the full-grown oocyte and its subsequent translation into D7 protein neither induced oocyte maturation nor affected the kinetics of hormone-induced maturation. Overexpression of D7 protein by 20-fold in the early Xenopus embryo by injection of D7 RNA into fertilized eggs did not affect subsequent development. Oocytes specifically lacking D7 mRNA were generated by oligodeoxynucleotide-mediated RNA destruction within the oocyte. Unfertilized eggs generated from such oocytes lacked detectable D7 protein, but nevertheless could be activated and fertilized. Embryos generated from such eggs, estimated to contain less than 5% of wildtype levels of D7 protein, developed normally up to the tailbud stage. Thus the D7 protein, the product of a maternal mRNA that is under strict translational repression in oocytes, appears not to be required for oocyte maturation, activation, fertilization or early embryonic development in Xenopus.

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