Polysomes, P bodies and stress granules: states and fates of eukaryotic mRNAs

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2009 Jun;21(3):403-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2009.03.005. Epub 2009 Apr 23.


The control of translation and mRNA degradation plays a key role in the regulation of eukaryotic gene expression. In the cytosol, mRNAs engaged in translation are distributed throughout the cytosol, while translationally inactive mRNAs can accumulate in P bodies, in complex with mRNA degradation and translation repression machinery, or in stress granules, which appear to be mRNAs stalled in translation initiation. Here we discuss how these different granules suggest a dynamic model for the metabolism of cytoplasmic mRNAs wherein they cycle between different mRNP states with different functional properties and subcellular locations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Polyribosomes / metabolism*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA Caps / metabolism*
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism


  • RNA Caps
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • messenger ribonucleoprotein