PerspectiveMolecular Biology

mRNA Delivers the Goods

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Science  25 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6020, pp. 1021-1022
DOI: 10.1126/science.1201001

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The ability to sort proteins to specific regions within a cell is conserved in all domains of life, even in structurally simple life forms like bacteria (1). Regardless of the organism, two parameters dictate how a protein arrives at its proper destination: The location harbors a unique feature that distinguishes it from other subcellular sites; and a specific signal, typically embedded within the protein itself, directs the protein to its target and is recognized at its proper destination (2). On page 1081 in this issue, Nevo-Dinur et al. (3) report that in the bacterium Escherichia coli, the localization signal for some proteins may not be contained solely within the protein, but instead can lie within the mRNA that encodes the protein (see the gure).