P-Bodies: Cytosolic Droplets for Coordinated mRNA Storage

Trends Genet. 2018 Aug;34(8):612-626. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2018.05.005. Epub 2018 Jun 13.


P-bodies (PBs) are cytosolic RNP granules that are conserved among eukaryotic organisms. In the past few years, major progress has been made in understanding the biochemical and biophysical mechanisms that lead to their formation. However, whether they play a role in mRNA storage or decay remains actively debated. P-bodies were recently isolated from human cells by a novel fluorescence-activated particle sorting (FAPS) approach that enabled the characterization of their protein and RNA content, providing new insights into their function. Together with recent innovative imaging studies, these new data show that mammalian PBs are primarily involved not in RNA decay but rather in the coordinated storage of mRNAs encoding regulatory functions. These small cytoplasmic droplets could thus be important for cell adaptation to the environment.

Keywords: P-bodies; RNA decay; RNA storage; RNP granules; translation regulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / genetics
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Organelles / metabolism*
  • Organelles / ultrastructure
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger, Stored / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger, Stored / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Messenger, Stored
  • Ribonucleoproteins