Many of the genes that control pattern formation in Drosophila encode mRNAs that are localized to discrete regions of the oocyte during oogenesis. While such localization is generally assumed to be important for the pattern-forming activities of these genes, this has been rigorously demonstrated in only a few cases. Here we address the role of mRNA localization for the dorsoventral patterning gene K10. K10 mRNA is localized to the oocyte's anterior cortex following its transport into the cell during early stages of oogenesis. We show that mutations in cappuccino and spire, which permit K10 mRNA transport, but prevent subsequent anterior localization, do not disrupt the synthesis or localization of K10 protein. We also show that modified K10 transgenes that produce transcripts which are uniformly distributed throughout the oocyte, or which are mislocalized to the oocyte's posterior pole, produce localized and functional K10 protein. We conclude that the anterior localization of K10 mRNA is not important for K10 protein targeting or gene function. We propose that the anterior localization of K10, and probably other mRNAs, is a by-product of mRNA transport and does not necessarily reflect a requirement for localization per se.

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