I have previously written about Oscar, recently I found out that there is also Oskar which is is involved in Drosophila embryonic development. Oskar is transcribed from maternal mRNA and absolutely crucial for establishing the anterior-posterior axis of the developing embryo by localizing the germ line cells at the posterior pole of the embryo.

The red stain in this picture is Oskar mRNA at the posterior pole of the oocyte. The protein Oskar keeps other posterior determinates, such as Staufen in the correct location.

Unusually enough, Oskar is not an acronym, the authors (R.Lehman and C. Nuesslein-Vollhard), who described the gene decided to name it Oskar after the main character of the novel “the tin drum” by G.Grass : Oskar, a little boy refuses to grow up and stays a pre-teen throughout the novel spanning 30 years. This is similar to a drosophila embryo that is missing Oskar, it will never develop past the embryonic stage of its life. The authors explicitly state their naming in the materials and methods section.

and then even cite the novel in their references.

The novel was later adapted into a movie which won an Oscar. Here is a picture of Oskar from the movie, he doesn’t look like a protein or an embryonic fly at all.

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