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Gene Review

vas  -  vasa

Drosophila melanogaster

Synonyms: BG:DS00929.14, BG:DS00929.15, CG33678, CG3506, CG43081, ...
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Disease relevance of vas


High impact information on vas


Biological context of vas

  • Eight of nine vas point mutations cause codon substitutions in a region conserved among DEAD-box genes [7].
  • The Drosophila gene vasa encodes a DEAD-box protein, which is localized during early oogenesis to the perinuclear region of the nurse cells and later to the pole plasm at the posterior end of the oocyte [7].
  • These observations show that germ-line-specific vas expression is promoted by autonomous function of maternal Nos and Pum in the germ-line progenitors during embryogenesis, and is regulated differentially in embryogenesis and oogenesis [8].
  • However, several vasa alleles exhibit a wide range of early oogenesis phenotypes [9].
  • A gus mutation blocks posterior localization of VAS, as does deletion of a segment of VAS containing the GUS binding site [10].

Anatomical context of vas


Associations of vas with chemical compounds


Regulatory relationships of vas

  • However, GRK accumulation in the oocyte is severely reduced in the absence of vasa function, suggesting a function for VASA in activating gurken translation in wild-type ovaries [15].

Other interactions of vas

  • These results suggest that the Oskar-Vasa interaction constitutes an initial step in polar granule assembly [6].
  • These cells retain the morphological features of GSCs, i.e., expression of Vasa and Nanos and spectrosomes, even after several months of culture [16].
  • We used GFP-tagged versions of Vasa and Aubergine to characterize and track nuage particles and polar granules in live preparations of ovaries and embryos [11].
  • Ziwi, the zebrafish homologue of the Drosophila piwi: co-localization with vasa at the embryonic genital ridge and gonad-specific expression in the adults [17].
  • Oocyte polarity depends on regulation of gurken by Vasa [9].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of vas

  • Third, pole cell transplantation experiments reveal that maternal Nos and Pum are required autonomously in pole cells for proper expression of vas [8].
  • Three vas-related genes (N. girellae vasa-like gene, Ngvlg1, Ngvlg2 and Ngvlg3) were isolated by PCR and Ngvlg1 and Ngvlg2 were shown to be expressed only in germ cells [18].
  • Results of Northern blot analysis of AhT/VD16 and AhT/VD146 demonstrate that both clones hybridized with mRNA transcripts that were up-regulated in the testis/vas deferens of fed compared to unfed males [13].
  • Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the helicase domains of Vasa complexed with RNA and an ATP analogue [19].


  1. Interaction with eIF5B is essential for Vasa function during development. Johnstone, O., Lasko, P. Development (2004) [Pubmed]
  2. A protein component of Drosophila polar granules is encoded by vasa and has extensive sequence similarity to ATP-dependent helicases. Hay, B., Jan, L.Y., Jan, Y.N. Cell (1988) [Pubmed]
  3. Induction of germ cell formation by oskar. Ephrussi, A., Lehmann, R. Nature (1992) [Pubmed]
  4. The product of the Drosophila gene vasa is very similar to eukaryotic initiation factor-4A. Lasko, P.F., Ashburner, M. Nature (1988) [Pubmed]
  5. Laser ablation studies of the role of the Drosophila oocyte nucleus in pattern formation. Montell, D.J., Keshishian, H., Spradling, A.C. Science (1991) [Pubmed]
  6. Oskar protein interaction with Vasa represents an essential step in polar granule assembly. Breitwieser, W., Markussen, F.H., Horstmann, H., Ephrussi, A. Genes Dev. (1996) [Pubmed]
  7. Localization of vasa protein to the Drosophila pole plasm is independent of its RNA-binding and helicase activities. Liang, L., Diehl-Jones, W., Lasko, P. Development (1994) [Pubmed]
  8. Maternal Nanos and Pumilio regulate zygotic vasa expression autonomously in the germ-line progenitors of Drosophila melanogaster embryos. Sano, H., Mukai, M., Kobayashi, S. Dev. Growth Differ. (2001) [Pubmed]
  9. Oocyte polarity depends on regulation of gurken by Vasa. Tomancak, P., Guichet, A., Zavorszky, P., Ephrussi, A. Development (1998) [Pubmed]
  10. VASA localization requires the SPRY-domain and SOCS-box containing protein, GUSTAVUS. Styhler, S., Nakamura, A., Lasko, P. Dev. Cell (2002) [Pubmed]
  11. Live imaging of nuage and polar granules: evidence against a precursor-product relationship and a novel role for Oskar in stabilization of polar granule components. Snee, M.J., Macdonald, P.M. J. Cell. Sci. (2004) [Pubmed]
  12. Differential expression of vasa homologue gene in the germ cells during oogenesis and spermatogenesis in a teleost fish, tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus. Kobayashi, T., Kajiura-Kobayashi, H., Nagahama, Y. Mech. Dev. (2000) [Pubmed]
  13. Identification and characterization of genes differentially expressed in the testis/vas deferens of the fed male tick, Amblyomma hebraeum. Weiss, B.L., Stepczynski, J.M., Wong, P., Kaufman, W.R. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. (2002) [Pubmed]
  14. Requirement for the vasa RNA helicase in gurken mRNA localization. Tinker, R., Silver, D., Montell, D.J. Dev. Biol. (1998) [Pubmed]
  15. vasa is required for GURKEN accumulation in the oocyte, and is involved in oocyte differentiation and germline cyst development. Styhler, S., Nakamura, A., Swan, A., Suter, B., Lasko, P. Development (1998) [Pubmed]
  16. Establishment of stable cell lines of Drosophila germ-line stem cells. Niki, Y., Yamaguchi, T., Mahowald, A.P. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2006) [Pubmed]
  17. Ziwi, the zebrafish homologue of the Drosophila piwi: co-localization with vasa at the embryonic genital ridge and gonad-specific expression in the adults. Tan, C.H., Lee, T.C., Weeraratne, S.D., Korzh, V., Lim, T.M., Gong, Z. Gene Expr. Patterns (2002) [Pubmed]
  18. Expression of vasa (vas)-related genes in germ cells and specific interference with gene functions by double-stranded RNA in the monogenean, Neobenedenia girellae. Ohashi, H., Umeda, N., Hirazawa, N., Ozaki, Y., Miura, C., Miura, T. Int. J. Parasitol. (2007) [Pubmed]
  19. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the helicase domains of Vasa complexed with RNA and an ATP analogue. Sengoku, T., Nureki, O., Dohmae, N., Nakamura, A., Yokoyama, S. Acta Crystallogr. D Biol. Crystallogr. (2004) [Pubmed]
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