GSBS Student Publications


Drosophila rasiRNA pathway mutations disrupt embryonic axis specification through activation of an ATR/Chk2 DNA damage response

GSBS Program

Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Program in Molecular Medicine and Program in Cell Dynamics



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Body Patterning; Cell Cycle Proteins; DEAD-box RNA Helicases; *DNA Damage; Drosophila Proteins; Drosophila melanogaster; Embryo, Nonmammalian; Female; Germ-Line Mutation; Microtubules; Models, Biological; Mutation; Ovary; Peptide Initiation Factors; Phosphorylation; Protein Transport; Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases; RNA Helicases; RNA, Small Interfering; Suppression, Genetic; Transforming Growth Factor alpha


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Small repeat-associated siRNAs (rasiRNAs) mediate silencing of retrotransposons and the Stellate locus. Mutations in the Drosophila rasiRNA pathway genes armitage and aubergine disrupt embryonic axis specification, triggering defects in microtubule polarization as well as asymmetric localization of mRNA and protein determinants in the developing oocyte. Mutations in the ATR/Chk2 DNA damage signal transduction pathway dramatically suppress these axis specification defects, but do not restore retrotransposon or Stellate silencing. Furthermore, rasiRNA pathway mutations lead to germline-specific accumulation of gamma-H2Av foci characteristic of DNA damage. We conclude that rasiRNA-based gene silencing is not required for axis specification, and that the critical developmental function for this pathway is to suppress DNA damage signaling in the germline.

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Citation: Dev Cell. 2007 Jan;12(1):45-55. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version


Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal Title

Developmental cell

PubMed ID