Assembling an intermediate filament network by dynamic cotranslation

Lynne Chang, Yaron Shav-Tal, Tatjana Trcek, Robert H. Singer, Robert D. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


We have been able to observe the dynamic interactions between a specific messenger RNA (mRNA) and its protein product in vivo by studying the synthesis and assembly of peripherin intermediate filaments (IFs). The results show that peripherin mRNA-containing particles (messenger ribonucleoproteins [mRNPs]) move mainly along microtubules (MT). These mRNPs are translationally silent, initiating translation when they cease moving. Many peripherin mRNPs contain multiple mRNAs, possibly amplifying the total amount of protein synthesized within these "translation factories." This mRNA clustering is dependent on MT, regulatory sequences within the RNA and the nascent protein. Peripherin is cotranslationally assembled into insoluble, nonfilamentous particles that are precursors to the long IF that form extensive cytoskeletal networks. The results show that the motility and targeting of peripherin mRNPs, their translational control, and the assembly of an IF cytoskeletal system are linked together in a process we have termed dynamic cotranslation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-758
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 27 Feb 2006


FundersFunder number
National Institute of General Medical SciencesR01GM036806
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin DiseasesR01AR041480
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and BioengineeringR01EB002060


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