Stress granules: the Tao of RNA triage

Trends Biochem Sci. 2008 Mar;33(3):141-50. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2007.12.003.


Cytoplasmic RNA structures such as stress granules (SGs) and processing bodies (PBs) are functional byproducts of mRNA metabolism, sharing substrate mRNA, dynamic properties and many proteins, but also housing separate components and performing independent functions. Each can exist independently, but when coordinately induced they are often tethered together in a cytosolic dance. Although both self-assemble in response to stress-induced perturbations in translation, several recent reports reveal novel proteins and RNAs that are components of these structures but also perform other cellular functions. Proteins that mediate splicing, transcription, adhesion, signaling and development are all integrated with SG and PB assembly. Thus, these ephemeral bodies represent more than just the dynamic sorting of mRNA between translation and decay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins