Asymmetric distribution of mRNA is observed in diverse cell types and considered to be an important mechanism to generate cell polarity. Localization of mRNA allows protein synthesis to be regulated at high spatial and temporal resolution. Live-cell imaging reveals that β-actin mRNA localization is highly dynamic and correlated with the cell protrusion and migration.
Movie: Real-time dynamics of β-actin mRNA in a migrating cell. The MS2-GFP labeling technique was used to visualize the endogenous β-actin mRNA. The color map shows the fluorescence intensity of NLS-MCP-GFP divided by the intensity of cytoplasmic dye, representing the concentration of β-actin mRNA. Find out more in Park et al., Cell Reports 1(2):179–184 (2012) and Lionnet et al., Nat Methods 8(2):165–170 (2011).