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Dev Dyn. 2010 Nov;239(11):2875-87. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22423.

Early asymmetries in maternal transcript distribution associated with a cortical microtubule network and a polar body in the beetle Tribolium castaneum.

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Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Crete, Greece.


The localization of maternal mRNAs during oogenesis plays a central role in axial specification in some insects. Here we describe a polar body-associated asymmetry in maternal transcript distribution in pre-blastoderm eggs of the beetle Tribolium castaneum. Since the position of the polar body marks the future dorsal side of the embryo, we have investigated whether this asymmetry in mRNA distribution plays a role in dorsal-ventral axis specification. Whilst our results suggest polar body-associated transcripts do not play a significant role in specifying the DV axis, at least during early embryogenesis, we do find that the polar body is closely associated with a cortical microtubule network (CMN), which may play a role in the localization of transcripts during oogenesis. Transcripts of the gene T.c.pangolin co-localize with the CMN at the time of their anterior localization during oogenesis and their anterior localization is disrupted by the microtubule-depolymerizing agent colcemid.

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