Skip to content
BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter June 20, 2012

Pat1 proteins: regulating mRNAs from birth to death?

Nancy Standart and Aline Marnef
From the journal BioMolecular Concepts


The Pat1 protein family has been the subject of several recent extensive investigations of diverse model systems ranging from yeast, flies and worms to man, using a variety of experimental approaches. Although some contradictions remain, the emerging consensus view is that these RNA-binding proteins act in mRNA decay by physically linking deadenylation with decapping and by regulating gene expression as translational repressors. These multiple functions are present in the single invertebrate Pat1 proteins, whereas, in vertebrates, one Pat1 variant represses translation in early development, while a somatic version synthesised in embrogenesis and in adults acts in mRNA decay. At steady state, Pat1 proteins are found enriched in cytoplasmic P(rocessing)-bodies, and related mRNP complexes and granules. Evidence recently obtained from mammalian tissue culture cells shows that Pat1 shuttles in and out of the nucleus, where it localises to nuclear speckles, PML bodies and nucleolar caps, which suggests RNA-related nuclear functions. Less well understood, Pat1 proteins may play additional roles in miRNA silencing and/or biogenesis, as well in the regulation of viral gene expression. Due to the relatively low level of sequence conservation between Pat1 proteins from different species and lacking any discernable motifs, determining their functional domains has proved difficult, as is obtaining a simple unified view of the location of the binding sites of their interacting proteins in all examined species. Questions that remain to be addressed include the following: 1) What are their roles in the nucleus? 2) What is the link, if one exists, between their cytoplasmic and nuclear roles? 3) Do they have specific mRNA targets? 4) Which signalling pathways regulate their P-body localisation in mammalian cells, which may affect quiescent cell survival?

Corresponding author

Received: 2012-2-16
Accepted: 2012-5-14
Published Online: 2012-06-20
Published in Print: 2012-08-01

©2012 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Scroll Up Arrow