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Mol Cell. 2009 Jul 10;35(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2009.06.016.

SR proteins in vertical integration of gene expression from transcription to RNA processing to translation.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0651, USA.


SR proteins have been studied extensively as a family of RNA-binding proteins that participate in both constitutive and regulated pre-mRNA splicing in mammalian cells. However, SR proteins were first discovered as factors that interact with transcriptionally active chromatin. Recent studies have now uncovered properties that connect these once apparently disparate functions, showing that a subset of SR proteins seem to bind directly to the histone 3 tail, play an active role in transcriptional elongation, and colocalize with genes that are engaged in specific intra- and interchromosome interactions for coordinated regulation of gene expression in the nucleus. These transcription-related activities are also coupled with a further expansion of putative functions of specific SR protein family members in RNA metabolism downstream of mRNA splicing, from RNA export to stability control to translation. These findings, therefore, highlight the broader roles of SR proteins in vertical integration of gene expression and provide mechanistic insights into their contributions to genome stability and proper cell-cycle progression in higher eukaryotic cells.

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