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Stress‐induced mRNP granules: Form and function of processing bodies and stress granules

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In response to stress, cells must quickly reprogram gene expression to adapt and survive. This is achieved in part by altering levels of mRNAs and their translation into proteins. Recently, the formation of two stress-induced messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) assemblies named stress granules and processing bodies has been postulated to directly impact gene expression during stress. These assemblies sequester and concentrate specific proteins and RNAs away from the larger cytoplasm during stress, thereby providing a layer of posttranscriptional gene regulation with the potential to directly impact mRNA levels, protein translation, and cell survival. The function of these granules has generally been ascribed either by the protein components concentrated into them or, more broadly, by global changes that occur during stress. Recent proteome- and transcriptome-wide studies have provided a more complete view of stress-induced mRNP granule composition in varied cell types and stress conditions. However, direct measurements of the phenotypic and functional consequences of stress granule and processing body formation are lacking. This leaves our understanding of their roles during stress incomplete. Continued study into the function of these granules will be an important part in elucidating how cells respond to and survive stressful environmental changes. This article is categorized under: Translation > Translation Regulation RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > RNA-Protein Complexes RNA Export and Localization > RNA Localization.

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