Eukaryotic mRNAs are monocistronic, and therefore mechanisms exist that coordinate the synthesis of multiprotein complexes in order to obtain proper stoichiometry at the appropriate intracellular locations. RNA-binding proteins containing low-complexity sequences are prone to generate liquid droplets via liquid-liquid phase separation, and in this way create cytoplasmic assemblages of functionally related mRNAs. In a recent iCLIP study, we showed that the Drosophila RNA-binding protein Imp, which exhibits a C-terminal low-complexity sequence, increases the formation of F-actin by binding to 3' untranslated regions of mRNAs encoding components participating in F-actin biogenesis. We hypothesize that phase transition is a mechanism the cell employs to increase the local mRNA concentration considerably, and in this way synchronize protein production in cytoplasmic territories, as discussed in the present review.
Keywords: RNA assemblage; RNA-binding protein; RNP granule; liquid droplet; low-complexity sequence; post-transcriptional RNA regulon.
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