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Dev Biol. 2009 Mar 15;327(2):458-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.12.031. Epub 2009 Jan 3.

Par-1 and Tau regulate the anterior-posterior gradient of microtubules in Drosophila oocytes.

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Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4370, USA.


The formation of an anterior-posterior (AP) gradient of microtubules in Drosophila oocytes is essential for specification of the AP axis. Proper microtubule organization in the oocyte requires the function of serine/threonine kinase Par-1. The N1S isoform of Par-1 is enriched at the posterior cortex of the oocyte from stage 7 of oogenesis. Here we report that posterior restriction of Par-1 (N1S) kinase activity is critical for microtubule AP gradient formation. Egg chambers with excessive and ectopic Par-1 (N1S) kinase activity in the germline cells display phenotypes similar to those of egg chambers treated with the microtubule-depolymerizing drug colcemid: depolymerization of microtubules in the oocyte and disruption of oocyte nucleus localization. A phosphorylation target of Par-1, the microtubule-associated protein Tau, is also involved in oocyte polarity formation, and overexpression of Tau alleviates the phenotypes caused by ectopic Par-1 (N1S) kinase activity, suggesting that Par-1 regulates oocyte polarity at least partly through Tau. Our findings reveal that maintaining proper levels of Par-1 at correct position in the oocyte is key to oocyte polarity formation and that the conserved role of Par-1 and Tau is crucial for the establishment of an AP gradient of microtubules and for AP axis specification.

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