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Mol Cell January 1, 2018; 70 (1): 72-82.e7.

Terminal Uridylyltransferases Execute Programmed Clearance of Maternal Transcriptome in Vertebrate Embryos.

Chang H , Yeo J , Kim JG , Kim H , Lim J , Lee M , Kim HH , Ohk J , Jeon HY , Lee H , Jung H , Kim KW , Kim VN .

During the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), maternal RNAs are actively degraded and replaced by newly synthesized zygotic transcripts in a highly coordinated manner. However, it remains largely unknown how maternal mRNA decay is triggered in early vertebrate embryos. Here, through genome-wide profiling of RNA abundance and 3'' modification, we show that uridylation is induced at the onset of maternal mRNA clearance. The temporal control of uridylation is conserved in vertebrates. When the homologs of terminal uridylyltransferases TUT4 and TUT7 (TUT4/7) are depleted in zebrafish and Xenopus, maternal mRNA clearance is significantly delayed, leading to developmental defects during gastrulation. Short-tailed mRNAs are selectively uridylated by TUT4/7, with the highly uridylated transcripts degraded faster during the MZT than those with unmodified poly(A) tails. Our study demonstrates that uridylation plays a crucial role in timely mRNA degradation, thereby allowing the progression of early development.

PubMed ID: 29625039
Article link: Mol Cell

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: tut4 tut7
GO keywords: gastrulation with mouth forming second [+]
Morpholinos: tut4 MO1 tut4 MO2 tut7 MO1 tut7 MO2 tut7 MO3 tut7 MO4 tut7 cMO1

Article Images: [+] show captions