Asymmetric Inheritance of Cell Fate Determinants: Focus on RNA

Yelyzaveta Shlyakhtina, Katherine L. Moran, Maximiliano M. Portal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the last decade, and mainly primed by major developments in high-throughput sequencing technologies, the catalogue of RNA molecules harbouring regulatory functions has increased at a steady pace. Current evidence indicates that hundreds of mammalian RNAs have regulatory roles at several levels, including transcription, translation/post-translation, chromatin structure, and nuclear architecture, thus suggesting that RNA molecules are indeed mighty controllers in the flow of biological information. Therefore, it is logical to suggest that there must exist a series of molecular systems that safeguard the faithful inheritance of RNA content throughout cell division and that those mechanisms must be tightly controlled to ensure the successful segregation of key molecules to the progeny. Interestingly, whilst a handful of integral components of mammalian cells seem to follow a general pattern of asymmetric inheritance throughout division, the fate of RNA molecules largely remains a mystery. Herein, we will discuss current concepts of asymmetric inheritance in a wide range of systems, including prions, proteins, and finally RNA molecules, to assess overall the biological impact of RNA inheritance in cellular plasticity and evolutionary fitness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38
JournalNon-Coding RNA
Issue number2
Early online date9 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • asymmetric inheritance
  • heterogeneity
  • plasticity
  • RNA


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