Subcellular localization of RNA and proteins in prokaryotes

Keren Nevo-Dinur, Sutharsan Govindarajan, Orna Amster-Choder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The field of bacterial cell biology has been revolutionized in the last decade by improvements in imaging capabilities which have revealed that bacterial cells, previously thought to be non-compartmentalized, possess an intricate higher-order organization. Many bacterial proteins localize to specific subcellular domains and regulate the spatial deployment of other proteins, DNA and lipids. Recently, the surprising discovery was made that bacterial RNA molecules are also specifically localized. However, the mechanisms that underlie bacterial cell architecture are just starting to be unraveled. The limited number of distribution patterns observed thus far for bacterial proteins and RNAs, and the similarity between the patterns exhibited by these macromolecules, suggest that the processes that underlie their localization are inextricably linked. We discuss these spatial arrangements and the insights that they provide on processes, such as localized translation, protein complex formation, and crosstalk between bacterial machineries.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)314-322
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the past and present members of Orna Amster-Choder's laboratory for fruitful discussions over the years. This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation founded by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.


  • Cell compartmentalization
  • Cell polarity
  • Localized translation
  • RNA targeting
  • Subcellular organization


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