Localization-dependent translation requires a functional interaction between the 5' and 3' ends of oskar mRNA

Niki Gunkel, Tamaki Yano, Finn Hugo Markussen, Lisbeth C. Olsen, Anne Ephrussi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


The precise restriction of proteins to specific domains within a cell plays an important role in early development and differentiation. An efficient way to localize and concentrate proteins is by localization of mRNA in a translationally repressed state, followed by activation of translation when the mRNA reaches its destination. A central issue is how localized mRNAs are derepressed. In this study we demonstrate that, when oskar mRNA reaches the posterior pole of the Drosophila oocyte, its translation is derepressed by an active process that requires a specific element in the 5' region of the mRNA. We demonstrate that this novel type of element is a translational derepressor element, whose functional interaction with the previously identified repressor region in the oskar 3' UTR is required for activation of oskar mRNA translation at the posterior pole. The derepressor element only functions at the posterior pole, suggesting that a locally restricted interaction between trans-acting factors and the derepressor element may be the link between mRNA localization and translational activation. We also show specific interaction of two proteins with the oskar mRNA 5' region; one of these also recognizes the 3' repressor element. We discuss the possible involvement of these factors as well as known genes in the process of localization-dependent translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1652-1664
Number of pages13
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila
  • Localization-dependent translation
  • Oskar mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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