Translational Regulation of Gene Expression in Early Development

  • Joan V. Ruderman
  • Eric T. Rosenthal
  • Terese Tansey


Fertilization of Spisula oocytes causes a rapid change in the overall pattern of protein synthesis. This change occurs independently of any new mRNA transcription: it is controlled entirely at the translational level. cDNA clones complementary to several translationally regulated mRNAs have been isolated and used to directly investigate fertilization-triggered changes in mRNA activity and structure. Several mRNAs gain a long poly(A) tail right after fertilization, whereas others lose their poly(A) tails. In general, there is a good correlation between possession of a poly(A) tail and translational activity in vivo. Except for these changes in poly(A), these mRNAs show no significant structural alterations. This result strongly suggests that the inactivity of maternal mRNAs in the oocyte is not due to their being stored as translationally incompetent larger precursor forms. Evidence for a role of masking components is also discussed.


Xenopus Laevis Xenopus Oocyte Translation Product Translational Regulation Translational Activity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan V. Ruderman
    • 1
  • Eric T. Rosenthal
    • 1
  • Terese Tansey
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in Cell and Developmental Biology, and Department of AnatomyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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