Translational Regulation of Masked Maternal mRNAs in Early Development

  • Nancy Standart
Part of the Endocrine Updates book series (ENDO, volume 16)


Gene expression in early development, at a time when transcription is silent, is essentially regulated at the level of protein synthesis in a wide variety of organisms. Overall, there is modest activation of the translational machinery at the time when the oocytes or eggs resume meiosis. More importantly, in every case examined in detail, specific sub-sets of mRNA are recruited onto polysomes from a masked form associated with proteins (mRNP). In contrast to ‘house-keeping’ mRNAs such as actin, tubulin and ribosomal protein mRNAs, which are actively translated in immature oocytes, mRNAs encoding proteins required for entry and progression through the cell cycle (including cyclins, c-mos and ribonucleotide reductase) are translationally inert until oocytes are induced to undergo meiotic maturation or fertilization, when their products are required (1,2). The control of mRNAs encoding cell cycle regulatory proteins in early development has been extensively characterized in lower and higher eukaryotes in the last decade; this research has uncovered one of the best-understood mRNA-specific translational regulators, cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein (CPEB), the major subject of this chapter.


Xenopus Oocyte Oocyte Maturation Ribonucleotide Reductase Mouse Oocyte Translational Control 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Standart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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