The Ccr4-Not complex is a unique, essential and conserved multi-subunit complex that acts at the level of many different cellular functions to regulate gene expression. Two enzymatic activities, namely ubiquitination and deadenylation, are provided by different subunits of the complex. However, studies over the last decade have demonstrated a tantalizing multi-functionality of this complex that extends well beyond its identified enzymatic activities. Most of our initial knowledge about the Ccr4-Not complex stemmed from studies in yeast, but an increasing number of reports on this complex in other species are emerging. In this review we will discuss the structure and composition of the complex, and describe the different cellular functions with which the Ccr4-Not complex has been connected in different organisms. Finally, based upon our current state of knowledge, we will propose a model to explain how one complex can provide such multi-functionality. This model suggests that the Ccr4-Not complex might function as a "chaperone platform".
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