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Molecular chaperones and quality control in noncoding RNA biogenesis.

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Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06536, USA.


Although noncoding RNAs have critical roles in all cells, both the mechanisms by which these RNAs fold into functional structures and the quality control pathways that monitor correct folding are only beginning to be elucidated. Here, we discuss several proteins that likely function as molecular chaperones for noncoding RNAs and review the existing knowledge on noncoding RNA quality control. One protein, the La protein, binds many nascent noncoding RNAs in eukaryotes and is required for efficient folding of certain pre-tRNAs. In prokaryotes, the Sm-like protein Hfq is required for the function of many noncoding RNAs. Recent work in bacteria and yeast has revealed the existence of quality control systems involving polyadenylation of unstable noncoding RNAs followed by exonucleolytic degradation. In addition, the Ro protein, which is present in many animal cells and also certain bacteria, binds misfolded noncoding RNAs and is proposed to function in RNA quality control.

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