DEAD-box proteins are characterized by nine conserved motifs. According to these criteria, several hundreds of these proteins can be identified in databases. Many different DEAD-box proteins can be found in eukaryotes, whereas prokaryotes have small numbers of different DEAD-box proteins. DEAD-box proteins play important roles in RNA metabolism, and they are very specific and cannot mutually be replaced. In vitro, many DEAD-box proteins have been shown to have RNA-dependent ATPase and ATP-dependent RNA helicase activities. From the genetic and biochemical data obtained mainly in yeast, it has become clear that these proteins play important roles in remodeling RNP complexes in a temporally controlled fashion. Here, I shall give a general overview of the DEAD-box protein family.