RNA on the move

Nov 26, 2009
This electron microscopy image (grey) shows the posterior pole of a Drosophila oocyte, and superimposed on it is a projection of the movement of oskar mRNA in this region, recorded from a different oocyte at the same developmental stage. During this one-minute recording, the RNA moved from starting points labelled red to endpoints labelled green, via trajectories shown in blue. Image credit: Ephrussi / EMBL

In the fruit fly Drosophila, oskar mRNA, which is involved in defining the animal’s body axes, is produced in the nuclei of nurse cells neighbouring the oocyte, and must be transported to the oocyte and along its entire length before being translated into protein.

Scientists in the group of Anne Ephrussi at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have visualized the molecular mechanism that underlies this localisation process. In a study published today in Cell, they showed for the first time that, upon export from the nucleus of nurse cells into the cytosol - the semifluid that surrounds a cell’s nucleus -RNA particles recruit two , kinesin and dynein, which transport the to its final location in the oocyte.

By combining immunofluorescence with electron microscopy imaging, the EMBL scientists were able to discriminate where different molecules critical for oskar mRNA transport are recruited, thus defining a hierarchy of RNA particle assembly. These findings not only increase our understanding of development, but could also shed light on processes underlying the function of and axons in neurons, and - which is implicated in learning and memory formation - as these also entail the transport and localised translation of RNA.

More information: Trucco, A., Gaspar, I. & Ephrussi, A. Assembly of Endogenous oskar mRNA Particles for Motor-Dependent Transport in the Drosophila Oocyte. Cell, 25 November 2009.

Provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory (news : web)

Explore further: Micro fingers for arranging single cells

Related Stories

How nerve cells stay in shape

Jan 17, 2006

Nerve cells store and transmit information via special contact sites called synapses. Synapses also play a role in determining what we remember and what we forget. When we learn, both the structure and the ...

Getting wise to the influenza virus' tricks

May 04, 2008

Influenza is currently a grave concern for governments and health organisations around the world. The worry is the potential for highly virulent bird flu strains, such as H5N1, to develop the ability to infect humans easily. ...

A unique arrangement for egg cell division

Aug 09, 2007

Which genes are passed on from mother to child is decided very early on during the maturation of the egg cell in the ovary. In a cell division process that is unique to egg cells, half of the chromosomes are eliminated from ...

Recommended for you

Micro fingers for arranging single cells

Apr 24, 2015

Functional analysis of a cell, which is the fundamental unit of life, is important for gaining new insights into medical and pharmaceutical fields. For efficiently studying cell functions, it is essential ...

Detailed structure of human ribosome revealed

Apr 24, 2015

A team at the Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC - CNRS/Université de Strasbourg/Inserm) has evidenced, at the atomic scale, the three-dimensional structure of the complete ...

How to kill a protein

Apr 24, 2015

For decades scientists have been looking closely at how our cells make proteins. But the inverse is equally important: how cells kill them.

How RNA machinery navigates our genomic obstacle course

Apr 24, 2015

Once upon a time, scientists thought RNA polymerase—the molecule that kicks off protein synthesis by transcribing DNA into RNA—worked like a wind-up toy: Set it down at a start site in our DNA and it ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.