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Neuronal RNA-binding proteins in health and disease


  • Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.


In mammalian cells in general and in neurons in particular, mRNA maturation, translation, and degradation are highly complex and dynamic processes. RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play crucial roles in all these events. First, they participate in the choice of pre-mRNA splice sites and in the selection of the polyadenylation sites, determining which of the possible isoforms is produced from a given precursor mRNA. Then, once in the cytoplasm, the protein composition of the RNP particles determines whether the mature mRNA is transported along the dendrites or the axon of a neuron to the synapses, how efficiently it is translated, and how stable it is. In agreement with their importance for neuronal function, mutations in genes that code for RBPs are associated with various neurological diseases. In this review, we illustrate how individual RBPs determine the fate of an mRNA, and we discuss how mutations in RBPs or perturbations of the mRNA metabolism can cause neurodegenerative disorders. WIREs RNA 2014, 5:565–576. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1231

This article is categorized under:

  • RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > Protein–RNA Recognition
  • RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > Protein–RNA Interactions: Functional Implications
  • RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Disease