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Dev Biol. 2011 Sep 1;357(1):211-26. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.06.019. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

Bi-polarized translation of ascidian maternal mRNA determinant pem-1 associated with regulators of the translation machinery on cortical Endoplasmic Reticulum (cER).

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Université Pierre et Marie Curie and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, BioMarCell, UMR BioDev, Observatoire Océanologique, Villefranche-sur-mer, France.


Polarized cortical mRNA determinants such as maternal macho-1 and pem-1 in ascidians, like budding yeast mating factor ASH1 reside on the cER-mRNA domain a subdomain of cortical Endoplasmic Reticulum(ER) and are translated in its vicinity. Using high resolution imaging and isolated cortical fragments prepared from eggs and embryos we now find that macho-1 and pem-1 RNAs co-localize with phospho-protein regulators of translation initiation (MnK/4EBP/S6K). Translation of cortical pem-1 RNA follows its bi-polarized relocalization. About 10 min after fertilization or artificial activation with a calcium ionophore, PEM1 protein is detected in the vegetal cortex in the vicinity of pem-1 RNA. About 40 min after fertilization-when pem-1 RNA and P-MnK move to the posterior pole-PEM1 protein remains in place forming a network of cortical patches anchored at the level of the zygote plasma membrane before disappearing. Cortical PEM1 protein is detected again at the 4 cell stage in the posterior centrosome attracting body (CAB) region where the cER-mRNA domain harboring pem-1/P-MnK/P-4EBP/P-S6K is concentrated. Bi-polarized PEM1 protein signals are not detected when pem-1 morpholinos are injected into eggs or zygotes or when MnK is inhibited. We propose that localized translation of the pem-1 RNA determinant is triggered by the fertilization/calcium wave and that the process is controlled by phospho-protein regulators of translation initiation co-localized with the RNA determinant on a sub-domain of the cortical Endoplasmic Reticulum.

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