How cells position their proteins is a key problem in cell biology. Targeting mRNAs to distinct regions of the cytoplasm contributes to protein localization by providing local control over translation. Here, we reveal that an interdependence of a protein and cognate mRNA maintains asymmetric protein distribution in mitotic Drosophila neural stem cells. We tagged endogenous mRNA or protein products of the gene miranda that is required for fate determination with GFP. We find that the mRNA localizes like the protein it encodes in a basal crescent in mitosis. We then used GFP-specific nanobodies fused to localization domains to alter the subcellular distribution of the GFP-tagged mRNA or protein. Altering the localization of the mRNA resulted in mislocalization of the protein and vice versa. Protein localization defects caused by mislocalization of the cognate mRNA were rescued by introducing untagged mRNA coding for mutant non-localizable protein. Therefore, by combining the MS2 system and subcellular nanobody expression, we uncovered that maintenance of Mira asymmetric localization requires interaction with the cognate mRNA.
Ramat, A., Hannaford, M., & Januschke, J. (2017). Maintenance of Miranda Localization in Drosophila Neuroblasts Involves Interaction with the Cognate mRNA. Current Biology, 27(14), 2101-2111.e5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.016