RNA Granules and Their Role in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019;1203:195-245. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-31434-7_8.


In recent years, cytoplasmic RNA granules, which are micron-sized membrane-less entities formed by phase separation, have progressively gained recognition as essential constituents of neuronal RNA metabolism. Stress granules form under adverse growth conditions in order to protect nontranslating mRNA, shift translation toward the production of prosurvival factors, as well as potentially serve as hubs for intracellular signaling. In contrast, processing bodies play a role in RNA degradation in both stressed and homeostatic conditions. Lastly, transport granules permit, as their name indicates, the transport of mRNA within neurons. All of these granule subtypes are required for proper neuronal function; thus, impairments in their regulation and/or composition are expected to be deleterious. Here, we review these cytoplasmic RNA granule subtypes and discuss how they have been implicated in some neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Neurodegeneration; Processing bodies; RNA metabolism; Stress granules; Tauopathy; Transport granules.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / physiopathology
  • RNA, Messenger* / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger