Cell Biology

See oskar Move

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Science  14 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5648, pp. 1119
DOI: 10.1126/science.302.5648.1119c

The regional specification of intracellular proteins within the cytoplasm is a well-established organizational principle, and there are an increasing number of cases of localized messenger RNAs (mRNAs), for instance, in developing Drosophila eggs. Bratu et al. describe the direct imaging in living eggs of the distribution of oskar mRNA, which helps to define the posterior end of the oocyte. They developed a fluorescent tag called a molecular beacon, which is an oligonucleotide probe that lights up only when hybridized to its complementary RNA target. oskar mRNA was observed in real time to move from its site of synthesis in the surrounding nurse cells into the oocyte and thence to the posterior pole. The transport process appears to require microtubules and an intact 3′ untranslated region within the oskar mRNA. Such molecular beacons will be useful for real-time imaging of other spatially regulated mRNAs. — SMH

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 100, 13308 (2003).

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