Alternative polyadenylation and RNA-binding proteins

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Erson-Bensan A. E.

JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR ENDOCRINOLOGY, vol.57, no.2, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 57 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1530/jme-16-0070
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: alternative polyadenylation, APA, RNA-binding protein, RBP, 3 '-UTR, 3' UNTRANSLATED REGIONS, MESSENGER-RNA, 3'-END FORMATION, GENE-EXPRESSION, CLEAVAGE, MAPS, HUR
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Our understanding of the extent of microRNA-based gene regulation has expanded in an impressive pace over the past decade. Now, we are beginning to better appreciate the role of 3'-UTR (untranslated region) cis-elements which harbor not only microRNA but also RNA-binding protein (RBP) binding sites that have significant effect on the stability and translational rate of mRNAs. To add further complexity, alternative polyadenylation (APA) emerges as a widespread mechanism to regulate gene expression by producing shorter or longer mRNA isoforms that differ in the length of their 3'-UTRs or even coding sequences. Resulting shorter mRNA isoforms generally lack cis-elements where trans-acting factors bind, and hence are differentially regulated compared with the longer isoforms. This review focuses on the RBPs involved in APA regulation and their action mechanisms on APA-generated isoforms. A better understanding of the complex interactions between APA and RBPs is promising for mechanistic and clinical implications including biomarker discovery and new therapeutic approaches.