The role of membranes and membrane trafficking in RNA localization

Biol Cell. 2005 Jan;97(1):5-18. doi: 10.1042/BC20040056.


Eukaryotic cells possess highly sophisticated membrane trafficking pathways that define specific membrane domains and provide a means for moving vesicles between them (Mostov, Su, and ter Beest, 2003, Nat. Cell Biol. 5, 287-293). Here, I review recent data that indicate a role for membrane trafficking in mRNA localization. Specifically, I review evidence that some localized mRNAs are anchored to specific membrane domains and/or transported on membranous organelles or vesicles to specific subcellular sites. This review is not intended as a discussion on indirect influences of membrane trafficking on mRNA localization. I will not, for example, discuss the role of membrane trafficking in the regulation of extracellular signalling events that could indirectly influence mRNA localization through polarization of the actin or microtubule cytoskeleton (for examples, see reviews by Drubin and Nelson, 1996, Cell 84, 335-344; Shulman and St Johnston, 1999, Trends Cell Biol. 9, M60-M64).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Membrane Structures / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Structures / physiology*
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / physiology*
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism
  • Nuclear Envelope / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Retroviridae / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger