Invited Reviews

Multifunctional proteins suggest connections between transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes

Bioessays 19: 903-909 (1997)
 - PMID/doi: 9363684
Authors: Ladomery, M


Recent findings indicate that substantial cross-talk may exist between transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes. Firstly, there are suggestions that specific promoters influence the post-transcriptional fate of transcripts, pointing to communication between protein complexes assembled on DNA and nascent pre-mRNA. Secondly, an increasing number of proteins appear to be multifunctional, participating in transcriptional and post-transcriptional events. The classic example is TFIIIA, required for both the transcription of 5S rRNA genes and the packaging of 5S rRNA. TFIIIA is now joined by the Y-box proteins, which bind DNA (transcription activation and repression) and RNA (mRNA packaging). Furthermore, the tumour suppressor WT1, at first thought to be a typical transcription factor, may also be involved in splicing; conversely, hnRNP K, a bona fide pre-mRNA-binding protein, appears to be a transcription factor. Other examples of multifunctional proteins are mentioned: notably PTB, Sxl, La and PU.1. It is now reasonable to assert that some proteins, which were first identified as transcription factors, could just as easily have been identified as splicing factors, hnRNP, mRNP proteins and vice versa. It is no longer appropriate to view gene expression as a series of compartmentalised processes; instead, multifunctional proteins are likely to co-ordinate different steps of gene expression.