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Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2013;302:1-39. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-407699-0.00001-7.

Molecular insights into intracellular RNA localization.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Localization of mRNAs to specific destinations within a cell or an embryo is important for local control of protein synthesis. mRNA localization is well known to function in very large and polarized cells such as neurons, and to facilitate embryonic patterning during early development. However, recent genome-wide studies have revealed that mRNA localization is more widely utilized than previously thought to control gene expression. Not only can transcripts be localized asymmetrically within the cytoplasm, they are often also localized to symmetrically distributed organelles. Recent genetic, cytological, and biochemical studies have begun to provide molecular insight into how cells select RNAs for transport, move them to specific destinations, and control their translation. This chapter will summarize recent insights into the mechanisms and function of RNA localization with a specific emphasis on molecular insights into each step in the mRNA localization process.

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