The expression of CPEB proteins is sequentially regulated during zebrafish oogenesis and embryogenesis
O'Connell, Marcia L.
Cavallo, William C., Jr.
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In many species, there is little transcription in the mature oocyte, and zygotic transcription does not begin immediately after fertilization. In zebrafish, zygotic transcription is not initiated until the mid-blastula transition, thus the production of new proteins during oogenesis and early embryogenesis is dependent on the translation of maternal mRNAs. In a growing number of species, the translation of key maternal transcripts is coupled to their cytoplasmic polyadenylation. One family of RNA-binding proteins implicated in this process is the cytoplasmic polyadenylation element (CPE)-binding proteins (CPEBs), which bind to a sequence in the 3'-untranslated regions of regulated transcripts and mediate their storage/repression or translation. In several species, there is evidence for two classes of CPEBs, a larger oocyte-type and a smaller CPEB that functions during embryogenesis. This appears to be the case in zebrafish as well, and we now provide evidence suggesting that the oocyte-type CPEB (zorba) regulates the translation of the embryonic-type (ElrA) by keeping the ElrA transcript in storage until fertilization. When zorba levels fall, ElrA protein is then produced and available to regulate the translation of additional mRNAs during embryogenesis. We have also identified a potential target of ElrA, the maternal mRNA for hnRNPab, which is a potential homolog of the Drosophila gene squid, whose product plays a role in patterning the Drosophila oocyte and embryo. These data suggest that during zebrafish embryogenesis, cytoplasmic polyadenylation mediates a cascade of translational control whose final targets play central patterning roles during embryogenesis.
O’Connell, M.L., Cavallo, W.*, and Firnberg, M.* (2014) The expression of CPEB proteins is sequentially regulated during zebrafish oogenesis and embryogenesis. Molecular Reproduction and Development 81:376-387.
Department of Biology