Granules of translation factor mRNAs and their potential role in the localisation of the translation machinery to regions of polarised growth

  • Mariavittoria Pizzinga

Student thesis: Phd


The subcellular localisation of mRNA is a widespread mechanism to determine the fate of mRNAs in eukaryotes. Translationally repressed mRNAs localise to P-bodies and stress granules where their decay and storage, respectively, are directed. In a study from the Ashe lab, specific mRNAs were identified to localise, in actively growing S. cerevisiae, to cytoplasmic granules that do not seem to be related to P-bodies or stress granules but appear to be associated with active translation (Lui et al., 2014).It is possible that this might represent a strategy to co-regulate the expression of proteins from the same pathway. In the work of this thesis, microscopy techniques to visualise RNAs in live cells were used to extend the localisation analysis to several mRNAs encoding translation factors. The investigated transcripts were all found to localise to mostly one or two cytoplasmic granules per cell and would sometimes overlap with other transcripts, suggesting that each granule contains a mixture of mRNAs. Granules tend to migrate to the bud tip and may provide the daughter cell with a "start-up kit" of transcripts essential for rapid growth. A similar pattern can be observed in yeast cells growing undergoing filamentous growth, with granules harbouring translation factor transcripts often found in the apical quarter of the elongated cell.Although the mechanism by which the granules form and their protein composition are not yet known, high-throughput genetic screens performed as part of this work offer some insight into factors that might be involved in granule assembly and proteins that partially overlap with the granules.We propose that granules containing translation factor mRNAs might be functioning as a specialised factory for the translation machinery and are possibly being directed to the point in the cell where the rhythm of protein production is highest.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMark Ashe (Supervisor) & Sam Griffiths-Jones (Supervisor)


  • translational control
  • RNA granules
  • S. cerevisiae
  • RNA localisation
  • localised translation

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