Competition between kinesin-1 and myosin-V defines Drosophila posterior determination

Wen Lu, Margot Lakonishok, Rong Liu, Neil Billington, Ashley Rich, Michael Glotzer, James R. Sellers, Vladimir I. Gelfand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Local accumulation of oskar (osk) mRNA in the Drosophila oocyte determines the posterior pole of the future embryo. Two major cytoskeletal components, microtubules and actin filaments, together with a microtubule motor, kinesin-1, and an actin motor, myosin-V, are essential for osk mRNA posterior localization. In this study, we use Staufen, an RNA-binding protein that colocalizes with osk mRNA, as a proxy for osk mRNA. We demonstrate that posterior localization of osk/Staufen is determined by competition between kinesin-1 and myosin-V. While kinesin-1 removes osk/Staufen from the cortex along microtubules, myosin-V anchors osk/Staufen at the cortex. Myosin-V wins over kinesin-1 at the posterior pole due to low microtubule density at this site, while kinesin-1 wins at anterior and lateral positions because they have high density of cortically-anchored microtubules. As a result, posterior determinants are removed from the anterior and lateral cortex but retained at the posterior pole. Thus, posterior determination of Drosophila oocytes is defined by kinesin-myosin competition, whose outcome is primarily determined by cortical microtubule density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Feb 14 2020


  • actin
  • cell biology
  • D. melanogaster
  • Drosophila
  • kinesin
  • microtubules
  • myosin
  • oskar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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