PerspectiveCell Biology

RNA localization feeds translation

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Science  22 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6357, pp. 1235-1236
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5796

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The digestive tract has to cope with the challenge of functioning efficiently despite irregular cycles of eating and fasting. Digestion and absorption of nutrients require large quantities of proteins, mainly enzymes and transporters (1). Although these proteins must be available in the epithelial cells that line the stomach and intestines within minutes upon feeding, their continuous production would impose high upkeep costs on the fasting organism. On page 1299 of this issue, Moor et al. (2) identify a mechanism that may account for the responsiveness of the digestive system: The monolayer of enterocytes (which form the intestinal epithelium) controls protein expression at the level of translation, through regulated RNA localization.