RNA sorting in Drosophila oocytes and embryos

FASEB J. 1999 Mar;13(3):421-33. doi: 10.1096/fasebj.13.3.421.


Many RNAs involved in determination of the oocyte, specification of embryonic axes, and establishment of germ cells in Drosophila are localized asymmetrically within the developing egg or syncytial embryo. Here I review the current state of knowledge about the cis-acting sequences involved in RNA targeting, RNA binding proteins; gene activities implicated in localizing specific RNAs, and the role of the tubulin and actin cytoskeletons in RNA sorting within the oocyte. Targeted RNAs are often under complex translational control, and the translational control of two RNAs that localize to the posterior of the oocyte, oskar and nanos, is also discussed. Prospects for filling gaps in our knowledge about the mechanisms of localizing RNAs and the importance of RNA sorting in regulating gene expression are also explored.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Oocytes / metabolism*
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA