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EMBO Rep. 2005 Jan;6(1):33-8.

RNA sequence- and shape-dependent recognition by proteins in the ribonucleoprotein particle.

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  • 1Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich, ETH-Hönggerberg, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland.


At all stages of its life (from transcription to translation), an RNA transcript interacts with many different RNA-binding proteins. The composition of this supramolecular assembly, known as a ribonucleoprotein particle, is diverse and highly dynamic. RNA-binding proteins control the generation, maturation and lifespan of the RNA transcript and thus regulate and influence the cellular function of the encoded gene. Here, we review our current understanding of protein-RNA recognition mediated by the two most abundant RNA-binding domains (the RNA-recognition motif and the double-stranded RNA-binding motif) plus the zinc-finger motif, the most abundant nucleic-acid-binding domain. In addition, we discuss how not only the sequence but also the shape of the RNA are recognized by these three classes of RNA-binding protein.

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