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PLoS Biol. 2013;11(4):e1001551. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001551. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Directional transport is mediated by a Dynein-dependent step in an RNA localization pathway.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.


Cytoplasmic RNA localization is a key biological strategy for establishing polarity in a variety of organisms and cell types. However, the mechanisms that control directionality during asymmetric RNA transport are not yet clear. To gain insight into this crucial process, we have analyzed the molecular machinery directing polarized transport of RNA to the vegetal cortex in Xenopus oocytes. Using a novel approach to measure directionality of mRNA transport in live oocytes, we observe discrete domains of unidirectional and bidirectional transport that are required for vegetal RNA transport. While kinesin-1 appears to promote bidirectional transport along a microtubule array with mixed polarity, dynein acts first to direct unidirectional transport of RNA towards the vegetal cortex. Thus, vegetal RNA transport occurs through a multistep pathway with a dynein-dependent directional cue. This provides a new framework for understanding the mechanistic basis of cell and developmental polarity.

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