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Liquid-to-solid phase transition of oskar RNP granules is essential for their function in the Drosophila germline

By Mainak Bose, Julia Mahamid, Anne Ephrussi

Posted 01 Apr 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.31.437848

Asymmetric localization of oskar RNP granules to the oocyte posterior is crucial for abdominal patterning and germline formation of the Drosophila embryo. We show that oskar RNP granules in the oocyte are condensates with solid-like physical properties. Using purified oskar RNA and scaffold proteins Bruno and Hrp48, we confirm in vitro that oskar granules undergo a liquid-to-solid phase transition. Whereas the liquid phase allows RNA incorporation, the solid phase precludes incorporation of additional RNA while allowing RNA-dependent partitioning of specific proteins. Genetic modification of scaffold granule proteins, or tethering the intrinsically disordered region of human Fused in Sarcoma to oskar mRNA, allowed modulation of granule material properties in vivo. The resulting liquid-like properties impaired oskar localization and translation with severe consequences on embryonic development. Our study reflects how physiological phase transitions shape RNA-protein condensates to regulate localization and expression of a maternal RNA that instructs germline formation.

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