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J Signal Transduct. 2011;2011:109746. doi: 10.1155/2011/109746. Epub 2011 Apr 5.

Role of RNA-Binding Proteins in MAPK Signal Transduction Pathway.

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Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacogenomics, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kinki University, 3-4-1 Kowakae, Higashi-Osaka 577-8502, Japan.


Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), which are found in all eukaryotes, are signal transducing enzymes playing a central role in diverse biological processes, such as cell proliferation, sexual differentiation, and apoptosis. The MAPK signaling pathway plays a key role in the regulation of gene expression through the phosphorylation of transcription factors. Recent studies have identified several RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) as regulators of MAPK signaling because these RBPs bind to the mRNAs encoding the components of the MAPK pathway and regulate the stability of their transcripts. Moreover, RBPs also serve as targets of MAPKs because MAPK phosphorylate and regulate the ability of RBPs to bind and stabilize target mRNAs, thus controlling various cellular functions. In this review, we present evidence for the significance of the MAPK signaling in the regulation of RBPs and their target mRNAs, which provides additional information about the regulatory mechanism underlying gene expression. We further present evidence for the clinical importance of the posttranscriptional regulation of mRNA stability and its implications for drug discovery.

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