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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mechanistic Dissection of RNA-Binding Proteins in Regulated Gene Expression at Chromatin Levels.

  • Author(s): Chen, Jia-Yu
  • Lim, Do-Hwan
  • Fu, Xiang-Dong
  • et al.

Eukaryotic genomes are known to prevalently transcribe diverse classes of RNAs, virtually all of which, including nascent RNAs from protein-coding genes, are now recognized to have regulatory functions in gene expression, suggesting that RNAs are both the products and the regulators of gene expression. Their functions must enlist specific RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) to execute their regulatory activities, and recent evidence suggests that nearly all biochemically defined chromatin regions in the human genome, whether defined for gene activation or silencing, have the involvement of specific RBPs. Interestingly, the boundary between RNA- and DNA-binding proteins is also melting, as many DNA-binding proteins traditionally studied in the context of transcription are able to bind RNAs, some of which may simultaneously bind both DNA and RNA to facilitate network interactions in three-dimensional (3D) genome. In this review, we focus on RBPs that function at chromatin levels, with particular emphasis on their mechanisms of action in regulated gene expression, which is intended to facilitate future functional and mechanistic dissection of chromatin-associated RBPs.

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