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Bioessays. 2016 Mar;38(3):244-53. doi: 10.1002/bies.201500088. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

Establishing and maintaining cell polarity with mRNA localization in Drosophila.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA.
Laboratory of Gene Expression Regulation in Development, Institute of Gene Biology RAS, Moscow, Russia.
A.V. Zhirmunsky Institute of Marine Biology, FEB RAS Laboratory of Cytotechnology, Vladivostok, Russia.


How cell polarity is established and maintained is an important question in diverse biological contexts. Molecular mechanisms used to localize polarity proteins to distinct domains are likely context-dependent and provide a feedback loop in order to maintain polarity. One such mechanism is the localized translation of mRNAs encoding polarity proteins, which will be the focus of this review and may play a more important role in the establishment and maintenance of polarity than is currently known. Localized translation of mRNAs encoding polarity proteins can be used to establish polarity in response to an external signal, and to maintain polarity by local production of polarity determinants. The importance of this mechanism is illustrated by recent findings, including orb2-dependent localized translation of aPKC mRNA at the apical end of elongating spermatid tails in the Drosophila testis, and the apical localization of stardust A mRNA in Drosophila follicle and embryonic epithelia.


Par proteins; aPKC; mRNA localization; orb2; polarity; spermatogenesis; stardust

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