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Dev Growth Differ. 2010 Feb;52(2):209-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-169X.2009.01156.x.

Multiple sequences and factors are involved in stability/degradation of Awnt-1, Awnt-5A and Awnt-5B mRNAs during axolotl development.

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Equipe Biochimie du développement précoce, Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement, UMR CNRS 7622, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 75252 Paris, Cedex 05, France.


Following fertilization in amphibian, early cleavage stages are maternally controlled at a post-transcriptional level before initiation of zygotic transcriptions at the mid blastula transition (MBT). We document the expression levels of the axolotl Awnt-1, Awnt-5A and Awnt-5B genes as well as the adenylation states of their corresponding mRNAs from the end of oogenesis until the tailbud stages. Awnt-1/-5A RNAs are stable until MBT then degraded before gastrulation. Awnt-5B RNAs are degraded at fertilization and zygotically expressed after MBT with high level expression from gastrulation. Estimation of the poly(A) tail lengths reveals no direct link between deadenylation and degradation periods for each Awnt transcript. To investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in Awnt-1/-5A/-5B RNAs stability, synthetic full-length or 3' untranslated region (UTR) Awnt RNAs progressively deleted from their 3' end were microinjected in axolotl oocytes, unfertilized and fertilized eggs. We identified degrading and stabilizing sequences in the 3'UTR whose activities depend on the cellular context and are also modulated by the 5'UTR and coding sequence within each RNA. Using axolotl nuclear extracts from stage VI oocytes, we further produced evidence of destabilizing factors targeting the Awnt-5B RNAs. Altogether, these results show that oocyte maturation and late cleavages following MBT are two important periods when axolotl Wnt RNAs are highly regulated.

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