Inducible Control of mRNA Transport Using Reprogrammable RNA-Binding Proteins

Zhanar Abil, Laura F. Gumy, Huimin Zhao, Casper C. Hoogenraad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Localization of mRNA is important in a number of cellular processes such as embryogenesis, cellular motility, polarity, and a variety of neurological processes. A synthetic device that controls cellular mRNA localization would facilitate investigations on the significance of mRNA localization in cellular function and allow an additional level of controlling gene expression. In this work, we developed the PUF (Pumilio and FBF homology domain)-assisted localization of RNA (PULR) system, which utilizes a eukaryotic cell's cytoskeletal transport machinery to reposition mRNA within a cell. Depending on the cellular motor used, we show ligand-dependent transport of mRNA toward either pole of the microtubular network of cultured cells. In addition, implementation of the reprogrammable PUF domain allowed the transport of untagged endogenous mRNA in primary neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-956
Number of pages7
JournalACS synthetic biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 16 2017


  • Pumilio and fem3 mRNA-binding factor (PUF)
  • RNA-binding proteins (RBP)
  • dynein
  • kinesin
  • mRNA transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)


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