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RNA. 1997 Dec;3(12):1413-20.

Redundant RNA recognition events in bicoid mRNA localization.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, California 94305, USA.


A cis-acting signal in the 3' UTR of the Drosophila bicoid mRNA directs both the transport of the mRNA from the nurse cells to the oocyte and its anterior localization within the oocyte. Here we demonstrate that the signal mediates redundant RNA recognition events, A and B, that initiate largely overlapping programs of mRNA localization during oogenesis. Recognition event A requires a region encompassing stem-loops IV/V of the predicted secondary structure, and can be eliminated by a single nucleotide mutation. Localization initiated through event B begins slightly later in oogenesis, and requires sequences that have not been narrowly defined. Using forms of the 3' UTR lacking this RNA recognition redundancy, we reexamine the roles of the swallow, staufen, and exuperantia genes, which are all required for normal bicoid mRNA localization. Our results reveal that exuperantia first becomes essential for localization at a time when well-defined microtubule tracks between the nurse cells and oocyte disappear. Thus, exuperantia may specifically facilitate a form of nurse cell-to-oocyte mRNA transport not dependent on the microtubule tracks.

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