Localization of the germ plasm to the posterior of the Drosophila oocyte is required for anteroposterior patterning and germ cell development during embryogenesis. While mechanisms governing the localization of individual germ plasm components have been elucidated, the process by which germ plasm assembly is restricted to the posterior pole is poorly understood. In this study, we identify a novel allele of bazooka (baz), the Drosophila homolog of Par-3, which has allowed the analysis of baz function throughout oogenesis. We demonstrate that baz is required for spatial restriction of the germ plasm and axis patterning, and we uncover multiple requirements for baz in regulating the organization of the oocyte microtubule cytoskeleton. Our results suggest that distinct cortical domains established by Par proteins polarize the oocyte through differential effects on microtubule organization. We further show that microtubule plus-end enrichment is sufficient to drive germ plasm assembly even at a distance from the oocyte cortex, suggesting that control of microtubule organization is critical not only for the localization of germ plasm components to the posterior of the oocyte but also for the restriction of germ plasm assembly to the posterior pole.
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