Molecules that are localized in specific cytoplasmic regions of the unfertilized egg or zygote and affect cell fate decisions by segregating into different embryonic cells and controlling distinct gene activities in these cells. In the egg, such determinants are usually maternal mRNAs and proteins. Cytoplasmic determinants are also found in some post-embryonic cells, where they produce cytoplasmic asymmetry (q.v.). In dividing cells, this leads to asymmetric cell division in which each of the daughter cells differentiates into a different cell type. Also called localized cytoplasmic determinants or morphogenetic determinants. See bicoid, cytoplasmic localization, maternal effect gene, maternal polarity mutants, pole plasm.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.