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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 287852, 13 pages
Review Article

Conservation of the RNA Transport Machineries and Their Coupling to Translation Control across Eukaryotes

Institute of Cell Biology, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 4, 3012 Bern, Switzerland

Received 28 December 2011; Accepted 9 February 2012

Academic Editor: Greco Hernández

Copyright © 2012 Paula Vazquez-Pianzola and Beat Suter. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Restriction of proteins to discrete subcellular regions is a common mechanism to establish cellular asymmetries and depends on a coordinated program of mRNA localization and translation control. Many processes from the budding of a yeast to the establishment of metazoan embryonic axes and the migration of human neurons, depend on this type of cell polarization. How factors controlling transport and translation assemble to regulate at the same time the movement and translation of transported mRNAs, and whether these mechanisms are conserved across kingdoms is not yet entirely understood. In this review we will focus on some of the best characterized examples of mRNA transport machineries, the “yeast locasome” as an example of RNA transport and translation control in unicellular eukaryotes, and on the Drosophila Bic-D/Egl/Dyn RNA localization machinery as an example of RNA transport in higher eukaryotes. This focus is motivated by the relatively advanced knowledge about the proteins that connect the localizing mRNAs to the transport motors and the many well studied proteins involved in translational control of specific transcripts that are moved by these machineries. We will also discuss whether the core of these RNA transport machineries and factors regulating mRNA localization and translation are conserved across eukaryotes.