Distribution of swallow protein in egg chambers and embryos of Drosophila melanogaster

Jay Hegde, Edwin C. Stephenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The Drosophila maternal effect gene swallow has a role in localizing bicoid mRNA at the anterior margin of the oocyte during oogenesis, and a poorly characterized role in nuclear divisions in early embryogenesis. We have examined the distribution of swallow protein during oogenesis and embryogenesis using anti-swallow antibodies. During oogenesis, high levels of swallow protein are present in basal nurse cell cytoplasm, although small amounts are also present at the anterior oocyte margin, the site of bicoid RNA localization. Only a small fraction of swallow protein is in a position to interact directly with bicoid RNA during localization. The asymmetric distribution of swallow protein is disrupted in swallow ovaries, in which bicoid RNA becomes unlocalized late in oogenesis. swallow protein is uniformly distributed in eggs, but becomes localized to nuclei during early mitotic divisions in early embryogenesis. swallow protein enters each nucleus at the beginning of mitosis, occupies a position complementary to that of condensed chromatin, and leaves each nucleus at the end of mitosis. We show examples of nuclear division defects in swallow mutant embryos, and suggest that the abnormal nuclear divisions in early swallow embryos reflect a second function for swallow protein that contributes to abdominal segmentation defects common in swallow embryos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-470
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Bicoid RNA
  • Maternal effect gene
  • Mitosis
  • Nuclear divisions
  • Nuclear matrix
  • Oogenesis
  • RNA localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy

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