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Xpat, a gene expressed specifically in germ plasm and primordial germ cells of Xenopus laevis



cDNAs specific to vegetal poles of Xenopus gastrula embryos were used as a probe to screen a gastrula vegetal pole cDNA library. One of the novel clones isolated had an RNA expression pattern consistent with it being a component of germ plasm and it was thus named Xpat (Xenopus primordial germ cell associated transcript). The open reading frame encodes a 35 kDa protein with no clear homologies. The RNA is localised to the vegetal pole throughout oogenesis and early cleavage. During gastrulation cells containing this message move internally and at tailbud stages they migrate in an antero-dorsal direction. Xpat mRNA is not detectable once the dorsal mesentery forms. We show that the 3'-UTR is required and is sufficient for localisation of exogenous RNA to the vegetal pole of oocytes. We propose that Xpat UTR-containing transcripts can be localised by the Vgl or late pathway of mRNA localisation during stage III of oogenesis, but endogenous Xpat appears to be localised earlier by a mitochondrial cloud mechanism similar to that proposed for Xcat-2. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved

Topics: QH301
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