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

9 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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