RNA localization in bacteria

Avi Ad Avraam Buskilay, Shanmugapriya Kannaiahy, Orna Amster-Choder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


One of the most important discoveries in the field of microbiology in the last two decades is that bacterial cells have intricate subcellular organization. This understanding has emerged mainly from the depiction of spatial and temporal organization of proteins in specific domains within bacterial cells, e.g., midcell, cell poles, membrane and periplasm. Because translation of bacterial RNA molecules was considered to be strictly coupled to their synthesis, they were not thought to specifically localize to regions outside the nucleoid. However, the increasing interest in RNAs, including non-coding RNAs, encouraged researchers to explore the spatial and temporal localization of RNAs in bacteria. The recent technological improvements in the field of fluorescence microscopy allowed subcellular imaging of RNAs even in the tiny bacterial cells. It has been reported by several groups, including ours that transcripts may specifically localize in such cells. Here we review what is known about localization of RNA and of the pathways that determine RNA fate in bacteria, and discuss the possible cues and mechanisms underlying these distribution patterns.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1051-1060
Number of pages10
JournalRNA Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2014


  • Bacterial cell
  • Protein targeting
  • RNA localization
  • RNA zip-code
  • Subcellular organization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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