Information necessary for the formation of pole cells, precursors of the germ line, is provided maternally and localized to the posterior pole of the Drosophila egg. The maternal origin and posterior localization of polar granules suggest that they may be associated with pole cell determinants. We have generated an antibody (Mab46F11) against polar granules. In oocytes and early embryos, the Mab46F11 antigen is sharply localized to the posterior embryonic pole. In pole cells, it becomes associated with nuclear bodies within, and nuage around, the nucleus. Immunoreactivity remains associated with cells of the germ line throughout the life cycle of both males and females. This antibody recognizes a 72–74 × 10(3) Mr protein and is useful both as a pole lineage marker and in biochemical studies of polar granules.

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