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Localized synthesis of specific proteins during oogenesis and early embryogenesis inDrosophila melanogaster


Protein synthesis in egg follicles and blastoderm embryos ofDrosophila melanogaster has been studied by means of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Up to 400 polypeptide spots have been resolved on autoradiographs. Stage 10 follicles (for stages see King, 1970) were labelled in vitro for 10 to 60 min with35S-methionine and cut with tungsten needles into an anterior fragment containing the nurse cells and a posterior fragment containing the oocyte and follicle cells. The nurse cells were found to synthesize a complex pattern of proteins. At least two proteins were detected only in nurse cells but not in the oocyte even after a one hour labelling period. Nurse cells isolated from stages 9, 10 and 12 follicles were shown to synthesize stage specific patterns of proteins. Several proteins are synthesized in posterior fragments of stage 10 follicles but not in anterior fragments. These proteins are only found in follicle cells. No oocyte specific proteins have been detected. Striking differences between the protein patterns of anterior and posterior fragments persist until the nurse cells degenerate. In mature stage 14 follicles, labelled in vivo, no significant differences in the protein patterns of isolated anterior and posterior fragments could be detected; this may be due to technical limitations. At the blastoderm stage localized synthesis of specific proteins becomes detectable again. When blastoderm embryos, labelled in vivo, are cut with tungsten needles and the cells are isolated from anterior and posterior halves, differences become apparent. The pole cells located at the posterior pole are highly active in protein synthesis and contribute several specific proteins which are found exclusively in the posterior region of the embryo. In this study synthesis of specific proteins could only be demonstrated at those developmental stages which are characterized by the presence of different cell types within the egg chamber, while no differences were detected when stage 14 follicles were cut and anterior and posterior fragments analyzed separately. The differences in the pattern of protein synthesis by pole cells and blastoderm cells indicate that even the earliest stages of determination are reflected by marked changes at the biochemical level.

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Gutzeit, H.O., Gehring, W.J. Localized synthesis of specific proteins during oogenesis and early embryogenesis inDrosophila melanogaster . Wilhelm Roux' Archiv 187, 151–165 (1979).

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Key words

  • Oogenesis
  • Embryogenesis
  • Two-dimensional gels
  • Protein synthesis
  • Drosophila melanogaster