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CELF Family Proteins in Cancer: Highlights on the RNA-Binding Protein/Noncoding RNA Regulatory Axis

Published: 14 October 2021
 by  MDPI

Abstract: Post-transcriptional modifications to coding and non-coding RNAs are unquestionably a pivotal way in which human mRNA and protein diversity can influence the different phases of a transcript’s life cycle. CELF (CUGBP Elav-like family) proteins are RBPs (RNA-binding proteins) with pleiotropic capabilities in RNA processing. Their responsibilities extend from alternative splicing and transcript editing in the nucleus to mRNA stability, and translation into the cytoplasm. In this way, CELF family members have been connected to global alterations in cancer proliferation and invasion, leading to their identification as potential tumor suppressors or even oncogenes. Notably, genetic variants, alternative splicing, phosphorylation, acetylation, subcellular distribution, competition with other RBPs, and ultimately lncRNAs, miRNAs, and circRNAs all impact CELF regulation. Discoveries have emerged about the control of CELF functions, particularly via noncoding RNAs, and CELF proteins have been identified as competing, antagonizing, and regulating agents of noncoding RNA biogenesis. On the other hand, CELFs are an intriguing example through which to broaden our understanding of the RBP/noncoding RNA regulatory axis. Balancing these complex pathways in cancer is undeniably pivotal and deserves further research. This review outlines some mechanisms of CELF protein regulation and their functional consequences in cancer physiology.
Keywords: CELF proteins / RNA-binding protein / noncoding RNA / cancer

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