Mechanisms of RNA localization and translational regulation

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2000 Oct;10(5):476-88. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(00)00116-7.


Transcript localization and translational regulation are two post-transcriptional mechanisms for the spatial and temporal regulation of protein production. During the past year, two transcript localization mechanisms have been elaborated in some detail. Where localization involves directional transport on cytoskeletal tracks, links between the transcripts and the cytoskeletal molecular motors have been elaborated. In the case of localization by generalized transcript degradation combined with localized protection, trans-acting pathways and cis-acting elements for degradation and protection have been identified. A third transcript localization mechanism, vectorial transport out of the nucleus into a particular cytoplasmic domain, was initially thought to localize pair-rule transcripts in Drosophila. However, these have now been shown to be localized by directional transport in the cytoplasm. Transcript localization and translational regulation can be intimately linked in that, for certain messenger RNAs, only the localized fraction of transcripts is translated whereas unlocalized transcripts are translationally repressed. Cis-acting sequences and trans-acting factors that function in translational repression have been identified along with factors involved in relief of translational repression at the site of localization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger