Mutations in grauzone or cortex cause abnormal arrest in Drosophila female meiosis. We cloned grauzone and identified it as a C2H2-type zinc finger transcription factor. The grauzone transcript is present in ovaries and at later developmental stages. A Grauzone-GFP fusion protein is functional and localizes to nuclei of both nurse cells and follicle cells during oogenesis. Three lines of evidence indicate that grauzone and cortex interact: reducing cortex function enhanced the grauzone mutant phenotype; cortex transcript abundance is reduced in the absence of grauzone function and Grauzone protein binds to the cortex promoter. These results demonstrate that activation of cortex transcription by grauzone is necessary for the completion of meiosis in Drosophila oocytes, and establish a new pathway that specifically regulates the female meiotic cell cycle.

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