RNA granules: post-transcriptional and epigenetic modulators of gene expression

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2009 Jun;10(6):430-6. doi: 10.1038/nrm2694.


The composition of cytoplasmic messenger ribonucleoproteins (mRNPs) is determined by their nuclear and cytoplasmic histories and reflects past functions and future fates. The protein components of selected mRNP complexes promote their assembly into microscopically visible cytoplasmic RNA granules, including stress granules, processing bodies and germ cell (or polar) granules. We propose that RNA granules can be both a cause and a consequence of altered mRNA translation, decay or editing. In this capacity, RNA granules serve as key modulators of post-transcriptional and epigenetic gene expression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasmic Granules* / genetics
  • Cytoplasmic Granules* / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Models, Biological
  • Polyribosomes / metabolism
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • RNA* / genetics
  • RNA* / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoproteins / genetics
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism


  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • RNA