Protein targeting via mRNA in bacteria

Shanmugapriya Kannaiah, Orna Amster-Choder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Proteins of all living organisms must reach their subcellular destination to sustain the cell structure and function. The proteins are transported to one of the cellular compartments, inserted into the membrane, or secreted across the membrane to the extracellular milieu. Cells have developed various mechanisms to transport proteins across membranes, among them localized translation. Evidence for targeting of Messenger RNA for the sake of translation of their respective protein products at specific subcellular sites in many eukaryotic model organisms have been accumulating in recent years. Cis-acting RNA localizing elements, termed RNA zip-codes, which are embedded within the mRNA sequence, are recognized by RNA-binding proteins, which in turn interact with motor proteins, thus coordinating the intracellular transport of the mRNA transcripts. Despite the rareness of conventional organelles, first and foremost a nucleus, pieces of evidence for mRNA localization to specific subcellular domains, where their protein products function, have also been obtained for prokaryotes. Although the underlying mechanisms for transcript localization in bacteria are yet to be unraveled, it is now obvious that intracellular localization of mRNA is a common mechanism to spatially localize proteins in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Protein trafficking and secretion in bacteria. Guest Editors: Anastassios Economou and Ross Dalbey.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1457-1465
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all members of the Amster-Choder lab for fruitful discussions. This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation founded by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities .


  • Bacterial cell
  • Protein export
  • Protein targeting
  • RNA localization
  • RNA zip-code
  • Subcellular organization


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