mRNP granules. Assembly, function, and connections with disease.

Buchan JR. 2014. mRNP granules. Assembly, function, and connections with disease. RNA Biol. 11:1019–30. doi:10.4161/15476286.2014.972208.

Messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) granules are dynamic, self-assembling structures that harbor non-translating mRNAs bound by various proteins that regulate mRNA translation, localization, and turnover. Their importance in gene expression regulation is far reaching, ranging from precise spatial-temporal control of mRNAs that drive developmental programs in oocytes and embryos, to similarly exquisite control of mRNAs in neurons that underpin synaptic plasticity, and thus, memory formation. Analysis of mRNP granules in their various contexts has revealed common themes of assembly, disassembly, and modes of mRNA regulation, yet new studies continue to reveal unexpected and important findings, such as links between aberrant mRNP granule assembly and neurodegenerative disease. Continued study of these enigmatic structures thus promises fascinating new insights into cellular function, and may also suggest novel therapeutic strategies in various disease states.