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J Cell Biol. 2004 Apr 26;165(2):203-11. Epub 2004 Apr 19.

Nuclear RNP complex assembly initiates cytoplasmic RNA localization.

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  • 1Box G-J2, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.


Cytoplasmic localization of mRNAs is a widespread mechanism for generating cell polarity and can provide the basis for patterning during embryonic development. A prominent example of this is localization of maternal mRNAs in Xenopus oocytes, a process requiring recognition of essential RNA sequences by protein components of the localization machinery. However, it is not yet clear how and when such protein factors associate with localized RNAs to carry out RNA transport. To trace the RNA-protein interactions that mediate RNA localization, we analyzed RNP complexes from the nucleus and cytoplasm. We find that an early step in the localization pathway is recognition of localized RNAs by specific RNA-binding proteins in the nucleus. After transport into the cytoplasm, the RNP complex is remodeled and additional transport factors are recruited. These results suggest that cytoplasmic RNA localization initiates in the nucleus and that binding of specific RNA-binding proteins in the nucleus may act to target RNAs to their appropriate destinations in the cytoplasm.

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