Principles and Properties of Stress Granules

Trends Cell Biol. 2016 Sep;26(9):668-679. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2016.05.004. Epub 2016 Jun 9.


Stress granules are assemblies of untranslating messenger ribonucleoproteins (mRNPs) that form from mRNAs stalled in translation initiation. Stress granules form through interactions between mRNA-binding proteins that link together populations of mRNPs. Interactions promoting stress granule formation include conventional protein-protein interactions as well as interactions involving intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) of proteins. Assembly and disassembly of stress granules are modulated by various post-translational modifications as well as numerous ATP-dependent RNP or protein remodeling complexes, illustrating that stress granules represent an active liquid wherein energy input maintains their dynamic state. Stress granule formation modulates the stress response, viral infection, and signaling pathways. Persistent or aberrant stress granule formation contributes to neurodegenerative disease and some cancers.

Keywords: RNP granule; intrinsically disordered protein; phase separation; stress granule.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism*
  • Disease
  • Humans
  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological*


  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins