Recognition of a bicoid mRNA localization signal by a protein complex containing Swallow, Nod, and RNA binding proteins

Dev Cell. 2003 Jan;4(1):41-51. doi: 10.1016/s1534-5807(02)00397-0.


Localization of mRNAs, a process essential for embryonic body patterning in Drosophila, requires recognition of cis-acting signals by cellular components responsible for movement and anchoring. We have purified a large multiprotein complex that binds a minimal form of the bicoid mRNA localization signal in a manner both specific and sensitive to inactivating mutations. Identified complex components include the RNA binding proteins Modulo, PABP, and Smooth, the known localization factor Swallow, and the kinesin family member Nod. We demonstrate that localization of bcd mRNA is defective in modulo mutants. The presence of three required localization components (Swallow, Modulo, and specific RNA binding activity) within the recognition complex strongly implicates it in mRNA localization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Kinesin
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Microtubule Proteins / metabolism*
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Ovary / cytology
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • RNA Transport*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Microtubule Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • bcd protein, Drosophila
  • swa protein, Drosophila
  • Nod protein, Drosophila
  • Kinesin