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Nucleic Acids Res. 2006;34(15):4206-15. Epub 2006 Aug 25.

DExD/H box RNA helicases: multifunctional proteins with important roles in transcriptional regulation.

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  • 1Cancer Biology Group, Division of Pathology and Neuroscience, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK.


The DExD/H box family of proteins includes a large number of proteins that play important roles in RNA metabolism. Members of this family have been shown to act as RNA helicases or unwindases, using the energy from ATP hydrolysis to unwind RNA structures or dissociate RNA-protein complexes in cellular processes that require modulation of RNA structures. However, it is clear that several members of this family are multifunctional and, in addition to acting as RNA helicases in processes such as pre-mRNA processing, play important roles in transcriptional regulation. In this review I shall concentrate on RNA helicase A (Dhx9), DP103 (Ddx20), p68 (Ddx5) and p72 (Ddx17), proteins for which there is a strong body of evidence showing that they play important roles in transcription, often as coactivators or corepressors through their interaction with key components of the transcriptional machinery, such as CREB-binding protein, p300, RNA polymerase II and histone deacetylases.

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