Translational control of localized mRNAs: restricting protein synthesis in space and time

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Dec;9(12):971-80. doi: 10.1038/nrm2548.


As highlighted by recent genome-wide analyses in diverse organisms and cell types, subcellular targeting of mRNAs has emerged as a major mechanism for cells to establish functionally distinct compartments and structures. For protein synthesis to be spatially restricted, translation of localizing mRNAs is silenced during their transport and is activated when they reach their final destination. Such a precise translation pattern is controlled by repressors, which are specifically recruited to transport ribonucleoprotein particles and block translation at different steps. Functional studies have revealed that the inactivation of these repressors, either by pre-localized proteins or in response to conserved signalling pathways, triggers local protein synthesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA Transport / physiology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Ribosomes / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA