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Degradation of maternal poly(A)-containing RNA during early embryogenesis of an insect (Smittia spec., chironomidae, diptera)

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Eggs of the chironomid midgeSmittia spec. were shown to contain maternal rRNA, tRNA and poly(A)-containing RNA. The ribonucleoprotein spectrum consisted of monosomes, ribosomal subunits, and subribosomal particles, whereas polysomes could be detected only in small amounts. Poly(A)-containing RNA was found in different regions of the RNP spectrum, mainly between 15 S and 60 S. After labelling maternal RNA by feeding tritiated uridine to the larvae, the radioactivity associated with poly(A)-containing RNA accounted for about 4% of the label in the total RNA extracted from newly deposited eggs. About half of the radioactivity in the poly(A)-containing RNA was lost between egg deposition and an advanced blastoderm stage. The loss was accompanied by both a decrease in the size of the poly(A)-containing RNA molecules and a shift of poly(A)-containing RNP particles to less dense regions in sucrose gradients. Comparison with poly(A)-containing RNA synthesized by the embryo indicates that the reduction in size of maternal poly(A)-containing RNA is not artifactual but reflects its degradation after the formation of blastoderm.

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Jäckle, H. Degradation of maternal poly(A)-containing RNA during early embryogenesis of an insect (Smittia spec., chironomidae, diptera). Wilhelm Roux' Archiv 187, 179–193 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00848270

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Key words

  • Insect embryogenesis
  • Poly(A)-containing RNA
  • maternal RNA
  • RNP-particles