Posttranscriptional regulation of gene networks by GU-rich elements and CELF proteins

Irina A. Vlasova, Paul R. Bohjanen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


GU-rich elements found in pre-mRNA and mRNA transcripts play diverse roles in the control of gene expression by regulating mRNA stability, translation and pre-mRNA processing. Regulatory GU-rich elements are highly conserved throughout evolution, and play major roles in development in diverse species from worms to mammals. The conservation of the GU-rich element allowed it to be identified as a sequence that was enriched in the 3′ UTR of human transcripts that exhibited rapid mRNA decay. This element functions, at least in part, as a molecular target for members of the CELF family of RNA-binding proteins, which recruit other components of the cellular posttranscriptional gene regulatory machinery to the transcript. Depending on the context, binding to GU-rich sequences by CELF proteins direct a variety of posttranscriptional regulatory events, including deadenylation, mRNA decay, translation or pre-mRNA processing. Thus, GU-rich elements and CELF proteins serve multiple functions in gene expression regulation and define an important evolutionarily conserved posttranscriptional regulatory network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalRNA Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grant 1R01AI072068 from the National Institutes of Health, USA and by a Lymphoma Research Foundation Fellowship to I.A.V. We thank Yann Audic and Rebecca Hartley for helpful discussions regarding deadenylation in Xenopus.


  • CELF
  • CUGBP1
  • Conserved sequence elements
  • Deadenylation
  • EDEN
  • Eden-binding protein
  • GU-rich element
  • RNA-binding proteins
  • mRNA decay
  • mRNA stability


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