Background: The formation of the bicoid (bcd) mRNA gradient is a crucial step for Bcd protein gradient formation in Drosophila. In the past, a microtubule (MT)-based cortical network had been shown to be indispensable for bcd mRNA transport to the posterior.
Results: We report the identification of a MT-binding protein CLASP/Chb as the first component associated with this cortical MT network. Since CLASPs in vertebrates were shown to serve as an acentriolar microtubule organization center (aMTOC) in concert with trans-Golgi proteins, we examined the effect of the Drosophila trans-Golgins on bcd localization and gradient formation. Using a genetic approach, we demonstrate that the Drosophila trans-Golgins dGCC88, dGolgin97 and dGCC185 indeed affect bcd mRNA localization during oocyte development. Consequently, the bcd mRNA is already mislocalized before the egg is fertilized. The expression domains of genes downstream of the hierarchy of bcd, e.g. of the gap gene empty spiracles or of the pair-rule gene even-skipped are changed, indicating an altered segmental anlagen, due to a faulty bcd gradient. Thus, at the end of embryogenesis, trans-Golgin mutants show bcd-like cuticle phenotypes.
Conclusions: Our data provides evidence that the Golgi as a cellular member of the secretory pathway exerts control on bcd localization which indicates that bcd gradient formation is probably more intricate than previously presumed.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Medical Biotechnology
- Developmental Biology