Stress granules are macromolecular aggregates of mRNA and proteins assembling in response to stresses that promote the repression of protein synthesis. Most of the work characterizing stress granules has been done under acute stress conditions or during viral infection. Comparatively less work has been done to understand stress granule assembly during chronic stress, specifically regarding the composition and function of stress granules in this alternative context. Here, we describe key aspects of stress granule biology under acute stress, and how these stress granule hallmarks differ in the context of chronic stress conditions. We will provide perspective for future work aimed at further uncovering the form and function of both acute and chronic stress granules and discuss aspects of stress granule biology that have the potential to be exploited in human disease.
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