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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2007 Apr;18(2):171-7. Epub 2007 Feb 6.

Why cells move messages: the biological functions of mRNA localization.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Gene Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 25, D-81377 Munich, Germany.


RNA localization is a widespread mechanism that allows cells to spatially control protein function by determining their sites of synthesis. In embryos, localized mRNAs are involved in morphogen gradient formation or the asymmetric distribution of cell fate determinants. In somatic cell types, mRNA localization contributes to local assembly of protein complexes or facilitates protein targeting to organelles. Long-distance transport of specific mRNAs in plants allows coordination of developmental processes between different plant organs. In this review, we will discuss the biological significance of different patterns of mRNA localization.

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