The power of the 3' UTR: translational control and development

Nat Rev Genet. 2003 Aug;4(8):626-37. doi: 10.1038/nrg1125.


Many crucial decisions, such as the location and timing of cell division, cell-fate determination, and embryonic axes establishment, are made in the early embryo, a time in development when there is often little or no transcription. For this reason, the control of variation in gene expression in the early embryo often relies on post-transcriptional control of maternal genes. Although the early embryo is rife with translational control, controlling mRNA activity is also important in other developmental processes, such as stem-cell proliferation, sex determination, neurogenesis and erythropoiesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Drosophila
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Meiosis
  • Mice
  • Mitosis
  • Models, Biological
  • Mothers
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sex Determination Processes


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA