Microtubule-dependent mRNA transport in the model microorganismUstilago maydis

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Microtubule-dependent trafficking is essential in moving mRNAs over long distances. This transport mechanism regulates important cellular events such as determining polarity and local protein secretion. Key examples are developmental and neuronal processes studied inDrosophila melanogaster, Xenopus laevisas well as in mammalian cells. A simple eukaryotic system to uncover basic mechanisms was missing. Fungal models are generally well suited for this purpose, since transgenic strains can be generated easily by homologous recombination allowing in vivo studies at native expression levels. Substantial advances in understandingUstilago maydisshowed that this fungus fulfils important criteria to serve as model for microtubule-dependent mRNA trafficking. Here, we summarize progress focusing on target mRNAs, RNA localization elements, RNA-binding proteins, mRNPs, molecular motors and microtubule organization. This serves as the basis to discuss the novel mechanism of mRNP hitchhiking on endosomes as well as an unexpected link to unconventional secretion with its implications for applied sciences.

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