Regulation of Drosophila Vasa in vivo through paralogous cullin-RING E3 ligase specificity receptors

Jan Michael Kugler, Jae Sung Woo, Byung Ha Oh, Paul Lasko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In Drosophila species, molecular asymmetries guiding embryonic development are established maternally. Vasa, a DEAD-box RNA helicase, accumulates in the posterior pole plasm, where it is required for embryonic germ cell specification. Maintenance of Vasa at the posterior pole requires the deubiquitinating enzyme Fat facets, which protects Vasa from degradation. Here, we found that Gustavus (Gus) and Fsn, two ubiquitin Cullin-RING E3 ligase specificity receptors, bind to the same motif on Vasa through their paralogous B30.2/SPRY domains. Both Gus and Fsn accumulate in the pole plasm in a Vasa-dependent manner. Posterior Vasa accumulation is precocious in Fsn mutant oocytes; Fsn overexpression reduces ovarian Vasa levels, and embryos from Fsn-overexpressing females form fewer primordial germ cells (PGCs); thus, Fsn destabilizes Vasa. In contrast, endogenous Gus may promote Vasa activity in the pole plasm, as gus females produce embryos with fewer PGCs, and posterior accumulation of Vas is delayed in gus mutant oocytes that also lack one copy of cullin-5. We propose that Fsn- and Gus-containing E3 ligase complexes contribute to establishing a fine-tuned steady state of Vasa ubiquitination that influences the kinetics of posterior Vasa deployment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1769-1782
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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