Microtubule disruption stimulates P-body formation

Thomas J. Sweet, Brooke Boyer, Wenqian Hu, Kristian E. Baker, Jeff Coller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Processing bodies (P-bodies) are subcellular ribonucleoprotein (RNP) granules that have been hypothesized to be sites of mRNA degradation, mRNA translational control, and/or mRNA storage. Importantly, P-bodies are conserved from yeast to mammals and contain a common set of evolutionarily conserved protein constituents. P-bodies are dynamic structures and their formation appears to fluctuate in correlation with alterations in mRNA metabolism. Despite these observations, little is understood about how P-body structures are formed within the cell. In this study, we demonstrate a relationship between P-bodies and microtubules in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. First, we demonstrate that disruption of microtubules by treatment with the drug benomyl leads to aggregation of P-body components. Consistent with this finding, we also demonstrate that disruption of microtubules by a temperature-sensitive allele of the major α tubulin, TUB1 (tub1-724) stimulates P-body formation. Second, we find that the α-tubulin protein Tub1 colocalizes with P-bodies upon microtubule destabilization. Third, we determine that a putative tubulin tyrosine ligase, encoded by YBR094W, is a protein component of P-bodies, providing additional evidence for a physical connection between P-bodies and microtubules. Finally, we establish that P-bodies formed by microtubule destabilization fail to correlate with global changes in the stability of mRNA or in general mRNA translation. These findings demonstrate that the aggregation of P-body components is linked to the intracellular microtubule network, and, further, that P-bodies formed by disruption of microtubules aggregate independent of broad alterations in either mRNA decay or mRNA translation. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-502
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Microtubules
  • P-bodies
  • mRNA decay
  • mRNA stability
  • mRNA translational control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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