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Biology, mRNA, xenopus laevis, proteins, cells


Biology | Cell and Developmental Biology | Life Sciences


Molecules that specify cell fate are often localized to specific regions of the unfertilized egg. These molecules, which can be mRNAs or proteins, become asymmetrically segregated into a subset of cells during cleavage. There they either affect the gene expression of the cell or are released from the cell to induce neighboring cells to change their fate. Molecules in the former category are called cytoplasmic determinants; those in the latter category are called inducers.

In Xenopus laevis, the vegetal region of the oocyte is believed to contain both cytoplasmic determinants and inducers. Functions of these molecules include endodermal specification, mesoderm induction, dorsal-ventral axis formation, and germ cell development. C-10, a recently isolated mRNA, is a potential cytoplasmic determinant or inducer since it is unique to the vegetal cortex of the oocyte. Based on its localization pattern during oogenesis, C-10 is believed to be involved in germ cell development.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status