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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2011 Sep 1;3(9):a002758. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a002758.

Translational control in oocyte development.

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Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01606, USA.


Translational control of specific mRNAs is a widespread mechanism of gene regulation, and it is especially important in pattern formation in the oocytes of organisms in which the embryonic axes are established maternally. Drosophila and Xenopus have been especially valuable in elucidating the relevant molecular mechanisms. Here, we comprehensively review what is known about translational control in these two systems, focusing on examples that illustrate key concepts that have emerged. We focus on protein-mediated translational control, rather than regulation mediated by small RNAs, as the former appears to be predominant in controlling these developmental events. Mechanisms that modulate the ability of the specific mRNAs to be recruited to the ribosome, that regulate polyadenylation of specific mRNAs, or that control the association of particular mRNAs into translationally inert ribonucleoprotein complexes will all be discussed.

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