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Imaging translation dynamics in live embryos reveals spatial heterogeneities

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Science  29 Apr 2021:
eabc3483
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc3483

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Abstract

Much is known about the factors involved in the translation of mRNA into protein; however, this multi-step process has not been imaged in living multicellular organisms. Here, we deploy the SunTag method to visualize and quantify the timing, location, and kinetics of the translation of single mRNAs in living Drosophila embryos. By focusing on the translation of the conserved major epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-inducing transcription factor Twist, we identified spatial heterogeneity in mRNA translation efficiency and reveal the existence of translation factories, where clustered mRNAs are co-translated preferentially at basal perinuclear regions. Observing the location and dynamics of mRNA translation in a living multicellular organism opens avenues for understanding gene regulation during development.

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