The molecular motor dynein is involved in targeting swallow and bicoid RNA to the anterior pole of Drosophila oocytes

Nat Cell Biol. 2000 Apr;2(4):185-90. doi: 10.1038/35008601.


Localization of bicoid (bcd) messenger RNA to the anterior pole of the Drosophila oocyte requires the exuperantia ( exu), swallow (swa) and staufen (stau) genes. We show here that Swa protein transiently co-localizes with bcd RNA in mid-oogenesis. Swa also localizes to the anterior pole of the oocyte in the absence of bcd RNA. This localization does not require Exu, but depends on intact microtubules. In mutant ovaries with duplicated polarity of microtubules, Swa and bcd RNA are ectopically localized at the posterior pole, as well as being present at the anterior pole. We identify dynein light chain-1 (Ddlc-1), a component of the minus-end-directed microtubule motor cytoplasmic dynein, as a Swa-binding protein. We propose that Swa acts as an adaptor for the dynein complex and thereby enables dynein to transport bcd RNA along microtubules to their minus ends at the anterior pole of the oocyte.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Dyneins / metabolism*
  • Egg Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Microtubules / genetics
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mutagenesis / physiology
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Oogenesis / genetics
  • Protein Binding / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Egg Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • bcd protein, Drosophila
  • exu protein, Drosophila
  • swa protein, Drosophila
  • Dyneins