Journal of Biosciences

, 44:139 | Cite as

Translin: A multifunctional protein involved in nucleic acid metabolism

  • Alka Gupta
  • Vinayaki S Pillai
  • Rajani Kant ChittelaEmail author


Translin, a highly conserved, DNA/RNA binding protein, is abundantly expressed in brain, testis and in certain malignancies. It was discovered initially in the quest to find proteins that bind to alternating polypurines-polypyrimidines repeats. It has been implicated to have a role in RNA metabolism (tRNA processing, RNAi, RNA transport, etc.), transcription, DNA damage response, etc. Studies from human, mice, drosophila and yeast have revealed that it forms an octameric ring, which is important for its function. Translin is a cytoplasmic protein, but under genotoxic stress, it migrates into the nucleus, binds to the break point hot spots and therefore, thought to be involved in chromosomal translocation events as well as DNA damage related response. Its structure is known and DNA binding regions, GTP binding region and regions responsible for homotypic and heterotypic interaction are known. It forms a ball like structure with open central channel for accommodating the substrate nucleic acids. Besides this, translin protein binds to 3′ and 5′ UTR of certain mRNAs and probably regulates their availability for translation. It is also involved in mRNA transport and cell cycle progression. It forms a heteromeric complex with translin associated factor-X (TRAX) to form C3PO complex which is involved in RNA silencing process. Recently, it has been shown that translin is upregulated under starvation conditions in Drosophila and is involved in the integration of sleep and metabolic rate of the flies. Earlier studies classified translin as a DNA repair protein; however subsequent studies showed that it is a multifunctional protein. With this background, in this review we have summarized the translin biochemical activities, cellular function as well as structural properties of this important protein.


DNA binding DNA repair RNA binding Translin translocations TRAX 



We sincerely thank Dr. B. J. Rao, IISER, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, for constant support and discussions during our work on translin. We acknowledge Dr. H.S. Misra, Head, Molecular Biology Division, BARC, Mumbai, for his valuable suggestions. We also thank Dr. Anand Ballal and all the members of the lab, MDRS, MBD, BARC, for their constant help and discussions. VSP, Ph.D. student, acknowledges Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), BARC, Mumbai, for the fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alka Gupta
    • 1
  • Vinayaki S Pillai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rajani Kant Chittela
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Molecular Damage and Repair Section, Molecular Biology DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreMumbaiIndia
  2. 2.Homi Bhabha National InstituteMumbaiIndia

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