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Mech Dev. 1995 Jul;52(1):65-75.

Two otu transcripts are selectively localised in Drosophila oogenesis by a mechanism that requires a function of the otu protein.

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Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


The ovarian tumour gene (otu) is required for several processes during Drosophila oogenesis. The locus encodes two protein isoforms that have been proposed to act during different stages of oogenesis. Here we show that the corresponding otu mRNAs display a dynamic pattern of expression during oogenesis. The 4.1 kb mRNA encoding the 104 kDa isoform is expressed throughout adult oogenesis, but is mainly restricted to nurse cells. The 3.2 kb mRNA encoding the 98 kDa protein isoform is selectively localised in the oocyte up to stage 9. Both mRNAs are expressed abundantly in nurse cells at stages 10-11. We propose that the oocyte-specific function of otu is realised by the 98 kDa isoform. We show that the export of the 3.2 kb mRNA from the nurse cell nuclei requires a functional otu protein. The otu protein is also required for the correct distribution of the pumilio and oskar mRNAs, while the Bic-D, K10 and staufen mRNAs are localised in wild type fashion in otu mutants. Furthermore, we have observed a region of homology between the carboxy-terminal part of the otu protein and the mammalian microtubule associated proteins. The more severe the mutation in this region of homology, the more disturbed mRNA distribution is observed in otu mutants.

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