RNA-binding proteins and post-transcriptional gene regulation
RNAs in cells are associated with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) to form ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. The RBPs influence the structure and interactions of the RNAs and play critical roles in their biogenesis, stability, function, transport and cellular localization. Eukaryotic cells encode a large number of RBPs (thousands in vertebrates), each of which has unique RNA-binding activity and protein–protein interaction characteristics. The remarkable diversity of RBPs, which appears to have increased during evolution in parallel to the increase in the number of introns, allows eukaryotic cells to utilize them in an enormous array of combinations giving rise to a unique RNP for each RNA. In this short review, we focus on the RBPs that interact with pre-mRNAs and mRNAs and discuss their roles in the regulation of post-transcriptional gene expression.