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Cytoplasmic polyadenylation is important in the control of mRNA stability and translation, and for early animal development and synaptic plasticity. Here, we focus on vertebrate poly(A) polymerases that are members of the recently described GLD2 family. We identify and characterize two closely related GLD2 proteins in Xenopus oocytes, and show that they possess PAP activity in vivo and in vitro and that they bind known polyadenylation factors and mRNAs known to receive poly(A) during development. We propose that at least two distinct polyadenylation complexes exist in Xenopus oocytes, one of which contains GLD2; the other, maskin and Pumilio. GLD2 protein interacts with the polyadenylation factor, CPEB, in a conserved manner. mRNAs that encode GLD2 in mammals are expressed in many tissues. In the brain, mouse, and human GLD2 mRNAs are abundant in anatomical regions necessary for long-term cognitive and emotional learning. In the hippocampus, mouse GLD2 mRNA colocalizes with CPEB1 and Pumilio1 mRNAs, both of which are likely involved in synaptic plasticity. We suggest that mammalian GLD2 poly(A) polymerases are important in synaptic translation, and in polyadenylation throughout the soma.


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