Drosophila gurken (TGFalpha) mRNA localizes as particles that move within the oocyte in two dynein-dependent steps

Dev Cell. 2003 Mar;4(3):307-19. doi: 10.1016/s1534-5807(03)00058-3.


In Drosophila oocytes, gurken mRNA localization orientates the TGF-alpha signal to establish the anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes. We have elucidated the path and mechanism of gurken mRNA localization by time-lapse cinematography of injected fluorescent transcripts in living oocytes. gurken RNA assembles into particles that move in two distinct steps, both requiring microtubules and cytoplasmic Dynein. gurken particles first move toward the anterior and then turn and move dorsally toward the oocyte nucleus. We present evidence suggesting that the two steps of gurken RNA transport occur on distinct arrays of microtubules. Such distinct microtubule networks could provide a general mechanism for one motor to transport different cargos to distinct subcellular destinations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Compartmentation / physiology
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Dyneins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / genetics*
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / pharmacology
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha*
  • Transforming Growth Factors / genetics*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Insect Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha
  • grk protein, Drosophila
  • Transforming Growth Factors
  • Dyneins