Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published July 1998 | Published
Journal Article Open

RNA localization in development


Cytoplasmic RNA localization is an evolutionarily ancient mechanism for producing cellular asymmetries. This review considers RNA localization in the context of animal development. Both mRNAs and non-protein-coding RNAs are localized in Drosophila, Xenopus, ascidian, zebrafish, and echinoderm oocytes and embryos, as well as in a variety of developing and differentiated polarized cells from yeast to mammals. Mechanisms used to transport and anchor RNAs in the cytoplasm include vectorial transport out of the nucleus, directed cytoplasmic transport in association with the cytoskeleton, and local entrapment at particular cytoplasmic sites. The majority of localized RNAs are targeted to particular cytoplasmic regions by cis-acting RNA elements; in mRNAs these are almost always in the 3'-untranslated region (UTR). A variety of trans-acting factors—many of them RNA-binding proteins—function in localization. Developmental functions of RNA localization have been defined in Xenopus, Drosophila, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In Drosophila, localized RNAs program the antero-posterior and dorso-ventral axes of the oocyte and embryo. In Xenopus, localized RNAs may function in mesoderm induction as well as in dorso-ventral axis specification. Localized RNAs also program asymmetric cell fates during Drosophila neurogenesis and yeast budding.

Additional Information

© 1998 by Annual Reviews. The following kindly shared unpublished or in press results with us: P Macdonald, R Cohen, P Lasko,WTheurkauf, T Hazelrigg, H Krause, R Long, R Singer, P Takizawa, H Tiedge, L Etkin, and K Mowry. Special thanks to L Etkin, University of Texas, for providing the images of Xenopus localized RNAs used in Figure 4. We thank S Lewis, L Etkin, and M Kloc for comments on the manuscript. Our research on RNA localization has been funded over the past decade by research grants to HDL from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and currently the Medical Research Council of Canada.

Attached Files

Published - BASarb98.pdf


Files (543.2 kB)
Name Size Download all
543.2 kB Preview Download

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 13, 2023