Molecular Biology

A Posterior Bar Code

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Science  23 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5547, pp. 1621
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5547.1621c

One of the primary codes by which spatial information is specified in the Drosophila embryo is localization of messenger RNA (mRNA); oskar mRNA accumulates at and defines the posterior region of the embryo. Several proteins have been shown to be required for oskar mRNA localization. Hachet and Ephrussi identify another such protein, the Drosophila homolog of human Y14, and show that neither oskar mRNA nor the associated RNA-binding protein Staufen is correctly located in y14 mutants.

Why is this of interest. Other work has established that Y14 serves as a marker, deposited on mRNAs at exon-exon junctions after the introns have been removed by splicing. Thus, this marker is recognized by components of the macromolecular assemblies that mediate nuclear export of mRNAs; nonsense-mediated decay of defective mRNAs; and, as these results suggest, cytoplasmic localization of messages.—GJC

Curr. Biol.11, 1666 (2001).

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