The 5' and 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) function as platforms that can determine the fate of each mRNA individually and in aggregate. Multiple mRNAs that encode proteins that are functionally related often interact with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) that coordinate their expression in time and space as RNA regulons within the ribonucleoprotein (RNP) infrastructure we term the ribonome. Recent ribonomic methods have emerged that can determine which mRNAs are bound and regulated by RBPs and ncRNAs, some of which act in combination to determine global outcomes. ELAV/Hu proteins bind to AU-rich elements (ARE) in mRNAs and regulate their stability from splicing to translation, and the ubiquitous HuR protein has been implicated in cancerous cell growth. Recent work is focused on mechanistic models of how ELAV/Hu proteins increase mRNA stability and translation by repressing microRNAs (miRs) and the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC) via ARE-based ribonucleosomes that may affect global functions of mRNA regulons.
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