Primordial germ cell (PGC) development in Xenopus embryos relies on localised maternal determinants. We report on the identification and functional characterisation of such one novel activity, a germ plasm associated mRNA encoding for the Xenopus version of a kinesin termed KIF13B. Modulations of xKIF13B function result in germ cell mismigration and in reduced numbers of such cells. PGCs explanted from Xenopus embryos form bleb-like protrusions enriched in PIP3. Knockdown of xKIF13B results in inhibition of blebbing and PIP3 accumulation. Interference with PIP3 synthesis leads to PGC mismigration in vivo and in vitro. We propose that xKIF13B function is linked to polarized accumulation of PIP3 and directional migration of the PGCs in Xenopus embryos.
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