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Informosomes, East and West

Thoru Pedersona

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605 USA

Received April 18, 2021; Revised April 18, 2021; Accepted April 22, 2021
Although Alexander Spirin was most known for his ribosome work, his earlier research on RNA synthesis during vertebrate embryogenesis was also pioneering. There he introduced the idea that messenger RNA exists as a complex with proteins. He named these particles “informosomes”, mainly for the RNA species they contained but also hinting that this ribonucleoprotein form might underlie control of the mRNA’s translation. Although the notion that mRNA is complexed with proteins was entirely plausible and had considerable supporting data, it was received with skepticism in some quarters. Here I briefly summarize this phase of Spirin’s early work and offer my perspectives and speculations on why its acceptance was unduly delayed.
KEY WORDS: messenger RNP, maternal mRNA, translational control

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297921090017