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Keywords:

  • FMRP;
  • Fragile X Syndrome;
  • KH domain;
  • Nova;
  • polyribosome;
  • RNA-binding protein;
  • translational regulation

The Fragile X Syndrome is caused by the loss of function of the FMR1 gene (Pieretti et al. 1991. Cell 66, 817–822; O'Donnell & Warren 2002. Annu Rev Neurosci 25, 315–338]. Identification of the RNA targets to which FMRP binds is a key step in understanding the function of the protein and the cellular defects caused by its absence (Darnell et al. 2004 Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev 10, 49–52). Here we discuss the current understanding of FMRP as an RNA-binding protein, the different approaches that have been taken to identify FMRP RNA targets and the relevance of some of these approaches to FMRP biology. In addition, we present evidence that point mutations in the K-homology (KH)1 or KH2 domains of FMRP abrogate its polyribosome association in transfected neuroblastoma cells but that the deletion of the RGG box does not. This suggests that RNA binding by the RGG box of FMRP may mediate other aspects of cellular mRNA metabolism such as mRNA localization or that it may have a role downstream of polyribosome association.