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Journal Article

The maternal-to-zygotic transition revisited.


Vastenhouw,  Nadine
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Vastenhouw, N., Cao, W. X., & Lipshitz, H. D. (2019). The maternal-to-zygotic transition revisited. Development (Cambridge, England), 146(11): dev161471. doi:10.1242/dev.161471.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-7E60-1
The development of animal embryos is initially directed by maternal gene products. Then, during the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), developmental control is handed to the zygotic genome. Extensive research in both vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms has revealed that the MZT can be subdivided into two phases, during which very different modes of gene regulation are implemented: initially, regulation is exclusively post-transcriptional and post-translational, following which gradual activation of the zygotic genome leads to predominance of transcriptional regulation. These changes in the gene expression program of embryos are precisely controlled and highly interconnected. Here, we review current understanding of the mechanisms that underlie handover of developmental control during the MZT.