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The Xenopus localized messenger RNA An3 may encode an ATP-dependent RNA helicase

Abstract

THE maternal messenger RNA An3 was originally identified localized to the animal hemisphere of Xenopus luevis oocytes, eggs and early embryos1,2Xenopus embryos depend on mRNA and protein present in the egg before fertilization (maternal molecules) to provide the information needed for early development. Localization of maternal mRNA gives cells derived from different regions of the egg distinctive capacities for protein synthesis. We show here that An3 mRNA encodes a protein with 74% identity to a protein encoded by the testes-specific mRNA PLlO found in mouse3, which is proposed to have RNA helicase activity. Because the gene encoding An3 mRNA is reactivated after gastrulation and remains active throughout embryogenesis1,2, we have examined its distribution in embryonic and adult tissues. Unlike PLlO mRNA, which is primarily restricted to the testes, An3 mRNA is broadly dis-tributed in later development.

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