Gene Regulation at the RNA Layer: RNA Binding Proteins in Intercellular Signaling Networks

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Science's STKE  22 Apr 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 179, pp. re6
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.179.re6

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This STKE Review highlights the importance of posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression by RNA binding proteins. When cells receive external signals, such as stimuli from growth factors, signal transduction pathways lead to alterations in the activity of transcription factors in the nucleus of the receiving cell, often by phosphorylation of those factors. This leads to a change in gene expression in the cell that receives the signal. Evidence from a growing number of sources, however, indicates that transcription is not the only level at which gene expression can be regulated by intercellular signaling networks. Proteins involved in RNA metabolism, and in such posttranscriptional steps of gene expression as RNA export, translation, and degradation, also participate in signaling pathways. The presence of various protein domains allows RNA binding proteins to be regulated in response to extracellular stimuli and interact with effectors, including RNA and proteins, to mediate these posttranscriptional effects on gene expression. This review includes five figures and a reference list with 72 citations.