Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Genome Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research

Global analyses of mRNA translational control during early Drosophila embryogenesis

Xiaoli Qin12*, Soyeon Ahn3, Terence P Speed3 and Gerald M Rubin14

Author Affiliations

1 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley CA 94720, USA

2 InterMune, Inc., Brisbane, CA 94005, USA

3 Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley CA 94720, USA

4 Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institutes,19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA 20147

For all author emails, please log on.

Genome Biology 2007, 8:R63  doi:10.1186/gb-2007-8-4-r63

Published: 22 April 2007



In many animals, the first few hours of life proceed with little or no transcription, and developmental regulation at these early stages is dependent on maternal cytoplasm rather than the zygotic nucleus. Translational control is critical for early Drosophila embryogenesis and is exerted mainly at the gene level. To understand post-transcriptional regulation during Drosophila early embryonic development, we used sucrose polysomal gradient analyses and GeneChip analysis to illustrate the translation profile of individual mRNAs.


We determined ribosomal density and ribosomal occupancy of over 10,000 transcripts during the first ten hours after egg laying.


We report the extent and general nature of gene regulation at the translational level during early Drosophila embryogenesis on a genome-wide basis. The diversity of the translation profiles indicates multiple mechanisms modulating transcript-specific translation. Cluster analyses suggest that the genes involved in some biological processes are co-regulated at the translational level at certain developmental stages.