Diverse molecular functions of Hu proteins

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Oct;65(20):3168-81. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-8252-6.


Hu proteins are RNA-binding proteins involved in diverse biological processes. The neuronal members of the Hu family, HuB, HuC, and HuD play important roles in neuronal differentiation and plasticity, while the ubiquitously expressed family member, HuR, has numerous functions mostly related to cellular stress response. The pivotal roles of Hu proteins are dictated by their molecular functions affecting a large number of target genes. Hu proteins affect many post-transcriptional aspects of RNA metabolism, from splicing to translation. In this communication, we will focus on these molecular events and review our current understanding of how Hu proteins mediate them. In particular, emphasis will be put on the nuclear functions of these proteins, which were recently discovered. Three examples including calcitonin/calcitonin gene-related peptide, neurofibromatosis type 1, and Ikaros will be discussed in detail. In addition, an intriguing theme of antagonism between Hu proteins and other AU-rich sequence binding proteins will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • ELAV Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA Stability


  • ELAV Proteins
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide