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As the influence of mRNA translation upon cell cycle regulation becomes clearer, we searched for genes that might specify such control in Drosophila. A maternal-effect lethal screen identified mutants in the Drosophila gene for Larp (La-related protein) which displayed maternal-effect lethality and male sterility. A role for La protein has already been implicated in mRNA translation whereas Larp has been proposed to regulate mRNA stability. Here we demonstrate that Larp exists in a physical complex with, and also interacts genetically with, the translation regulator poly(A)-binding protein (PABP). Most mutant alleles of pAbp are embryonic lethal. However hypomorphic pAbp alleles show similar meiotic defects to larp mutants. We find that larp mutant-derived syncytial embryos show a range of mitotic phenotypes, including failure of centrosomes to migrate around the nuclear envelope, detachment of centrosomes from spindle poles, the formation of multipolar spindle arrays and cytokinetic defects. We discuss why the syncytial mitotic cycles and male meiosis should have a particularly sensitive requirement for Larp proteins in regulating not only transcript stability but also potentially the translation of mRNAs.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Biol

Publication Date





186 - 197


Alleles, Animals, Cytoplasm, Drosophila, Drosophila Proteins, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Embryonic Development, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Larva, Male, Meiosis, Mutation, Oocytes, Poly(A)-Binding Proteins, RNA Interference, RNA Stability, RNA, Messenger, Transcription Factors