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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Jan;8(1):9-22.

P bodies: at the crossroads of post-transcriptional pathways.

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Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Post-transcriptional processes have a central role in the regulation of eukaryotic gene expression. Although it has been known for a long time that these processes are functionally linked, often by the use of common protein factors, it has only recently become apparent that many of these processes are also physically connected. Indeed, proteins that are involved in mRNA degradation, translational repression, mRNA surveillance and RNA-mediated gene silencing, together with their mRNA targets, colocalize within discrete cytoplasmic domains known as P bodies. The available evidence indicates that P bodies are sites where mRNAs that are not being translated accumulate, the information carried by associated proteins and regulatory RNAs is integrated, and their fate - either translation, silencing or decay - is decided.

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