Evidence for overlapping, but not identical, protein machineries operating in vegetal RNA localization along early and late pathways in Xenopus oocytes

Maike Claussen, Katja Horvay, Tomas Pieler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


RNAs that localize to the vegetal cortex of Xenopus oocytes are involved in early embryonic patterning and cell fate specification. Two mechanistically distinct pathways lead to RNA enrichment at the vegetal cortex: the early and the late. While several candidate proteins that seem to operate in the late localization pathway have been identified, proteins involved in the early pathway remain to be identified. In this study, we report on the isolation of a novel vegetally localized RNA in Xenopus oocytes that makes use of the early pathway and encodes a protein with a conserved but functionally uncharacterized NIF-motif. The localization signal of XNIF was mapped to a 300-nucleotide region in the 5 -UTR, which is able to mediate both accumulation to the mitochondrial cloud in stage I oocytes, as well as vegetal transport in later stage oocytes. The XNIF-LE contains 16 copies of the previously defined CAC-containing signal motifs for RNA localization. A critical number of such repeats seems to be required for accumulation in the mitochondrial cloud along the early pathway, but additional repeats seem to be required for localization along the late pathway. Cross-linking experiments identify two novel proteins of 62 and 64 kDa that interact with the XNIF-LE but not with the Vg1-LE that operates in the late pathway. Conversely, at least two of the previously identified VgRBPs, Vg1RBP1 and Prrp, also bind to the XNIF-LE. Thus, overlapping, but not identical, protein machineries mediate vegetal RNA localization along early and late pathways in Xenopus oocytes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4263 - 4273
Number of pages11
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

Cite this