An RNA-binding atypical tropomyosin recruits kinesin-1 dynamically to oskar mRNPs

EMBO J. 2017 Feb 1;36(3):319-333. doi: 10.15252/embj.201696038. Epub 2016 Dec 27.


Localization and local translation of oskar mRNA at the posterior pole of the Drosophila oocyte directs abdominal patterning and germline formation in the embryo. The process requires recruitment and precise regulation of motor proteins to form transport-competent mRNPs. We show that the posterior-targeting kinesin-1 is loaded upon nuclear export of oskar mRNPs, prior to their dynein-dependent transport from the nurse cells into the oocyte. We demonstrate that kinesin-1 recruitment requires the DmTropomyosin1-I/C isoform, an atypical RNA-binding tropomyosin that binds directly to dimerizing oskar 3'UTRs. Finally, we show that a small but dynamically changing subset of oskar mRNPs gets loaded with inactive kinesin-1 and that the motor is activated during mid-oogenesis by the functionalized spliced oskar RNA localization element. This inefficient, dynamic recruitment of Khc decoupled from cargo-dependent motor activation constitutes an optimized, coordinated mechanism of mRNP transport, by minimizing interference with other cargo-transport processes and between the cargo-associated dynein and kinesin-1.

Keywords: RNA binding protein; active transport; atypical tropomyosin isoform; molecular motor; oocyte.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Kinesins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism*
  • Tropomyosin / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Tm1 protein, Drosophila
  • Tropomyosin
  • messenger ribonucleoprotein
  • osk protein, Drosophila
  • Khc protein, Drosophila
  • Kinesins