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Trends Biochem Sci. 2007 Jun;32(6):279-85. Epub 2007 May 4.

CPEB: a life in translation.

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  • 1Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


Nearly two decades ago, Xenopus oocytes were found to contain mRNAs harboring a small sequence in their 3' untranslated regions that control cytoplasmic polyadenylation and translational activation during development. This cytoplasmic polyadenylation element (CPE) is the binding platform for CPE-binding protein (CPEB), which promotes polyadenylation-induced translation. Since then, the biochemistry and biology of CPEB has grown rather substantially: mechanistically, CPEB nucleates a complex of factors that regulates poly(A) elongation through, of all things, a deadenylating enzyme; biologically, CPEB mediates many processes including germ-cell development, cell division and cellular senescence, and synaptic plasticity and learning and memory. These observations underscore the growing complexities of CPEB involvement in cell function.

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