PerspectiveDevelopmental Biology

A New Face for the Endoplasmic Reticulum: RNA Localization

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Science  16 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5315, pp. 1092
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5315.1092

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Even before the first cell division, the oocyte shows signs of asymmetry that mark the formation of the embryo's head, tail, top, and bottom. One of these signs is the localization of RNA molecules to one end of the cell or the other. As discussed by Etkin in his Perspective, some of the mechanisms of this asymmetry are known, but this week's issue (p. 1128) reports a surprise: Deshler et al. show that one way in which these RNAs are put in place is by assistance from an unexpected corner--the endoplasmic reticulum, an organelle better known for its central place in protein synthesis.