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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2008 Jun;18(3):290-8. doi: 10.1016/

RNA recognition motifs: boring? Not quite.

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Institute for Molecular Biology and Biophysics, ETH Zürich, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland.


The RNA recognition motif (RRM) is one of the most abundant protein domains in eukaryotes. While the structure of this domain is well characterized by the packing of two alpha-helices on a four-stranded beta-sheet, the mode of protein and RNA recognition by RRMs is not clear owing to the high variability of these interactions. Here we report recent structural data on RRM-RNA and RRM-protein interactions showing the ability of this domain to modulate its binding affinity and specificity using each of its constitutive elements (beta-strands, loops, alpha-helices). The extreme structural versatility of the RRM interactions explains why RRM-containing proteins have so diverse biological functions.

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