Functioning of the Drosophila orb gene in gurken mRNA localization and translation

J. S. Chang, L. Tan, M. R. Wolf, P. Schedl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The orb gene encodes an RNA recognition motif (RRM)-type RNA-binding protein that is a member of the cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein (CPEB) family of translational regulators. Early in oogenesis, orb is required for the formation and initial differentiation of the egg chamber, while later in oogenesis it functions in the determination of the dorsoventral (DV) and anteroposterior axes of egg and embryo. In the studies reported here, we have examined the role of the orb gene in the gurken (grk)-Drosophila epidermal growth factor receptor (DER) signaling pathway. During the previtellogenic stages of oogenesis, the grk-DER signaling pathway defines the posterior pole of the oocyte by specifying posterior follicle cell identity. This is accomplished through the localized expression of Grk at the very posterior of the oocyte. Later in oogenesis, the grk-DER pathway is used to establish the DV axis. Grk protein synthesized at the dorsal anterior corner of the oocyte signals dorsal fate to the overlying follicle cell epithelium. We show that orb functions in both the early and late grk-DER signaling pathways, and in each case is required for the localized expression of Grk protein. We have found that orb is also required to promote the synthesis of a key component of the DV polarity pathway, K(10). Finally, we present evidence that Orb protein expression during the mid- to late stages of oogenesis is, in turn, negatively regulated by K(10).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3169-3177
Number of pages9
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


  • DER signaling pathway
  • Drosophila
  • Gurken
  • Orb
  • mRNA localization

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