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J Androl. 2012 May-Jun;33(3):309-37. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.111.014167. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

Control of messenger RNA fate by RNA-binding proteins: an emphasis on mammalian spermatogenesis.

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Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV 89557, USA.


Posttranscriptional status of messenger RNAs (mRNA) can be affected by many factors, most of which are RNA-binding proteins (RBP) that either bind mRNA in a nonspecific manner or through specific motifs, usually located in the 3' untranslated regions. RBPs can also be recruited by small noncoding RNAs (sncRNA), which have been shown to be involved in posttranscriptional regulations and transposon repression (eg, microRNAs or P-element-induced wimpy testis-interacting RNA) as components of the sncRNA effector complex. Non-sncRNA-binding RBPs have much more diverse effects on their target mRNAs. Some can cause degradation of their target transcripts and/or repression of translation, whereas others can stabilize and/or activate translation. The splicing and exportation of transcripts from the nucleus to the cytoplasm are often mediated by sequence-specific RBPs. The mechanisms by which RBPs regulate mRNA transcripts involve manipulating the 3' poly(A) tail, targeting the transcript to polysomes or to other ribonuclear protein particles, recruiting regulatory proteins, or competing with other RBPs. Here, we briefly review the known mechanisms of posttranscriptional regulation mediated by RBPs, with an emphasis on how these mechanisms might control spermatogenesis in general.

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