Human dyskerin: beyond telomeres

Biol Chem. 2014 Jun;395(6):593-610. doi: 10.1515/hsz-2013-0287.


Human dyskerin is an evolutively conserved protein that participates in diverse nuclear complexes: the H/ACA snoRNPs, that control ribosome biogenesis, RNA pseudouridylation, and stability of H/ACA snoRNAs; the scaRNPs, that control pseudouridylation of snRNAs; and the telomerase active holoenzyme, which safeguards telomere integrity. The biological importance of dyskerin is further outlined by the fact that its deficiency causes the X-linked dyskeratosis congenita disease, while its over-expression characterizes several types of cancers and has been proposed as prognostic marker. The role of dyskerin in telomere maintenance has widely been discussed, while its functions as H/ACA sno/scaRNP component has been so far mostly overlooked and represent the main goal of this review. Here we summarize how increasing evidence indicates that the snoRNA/microRNA pathways can be interlaced, and that dyskerin-dependent RNA pseudouridylation represents a flexible mechanism able to modulate RNA function in different ways, including modulation of splicing, change of mRNA coding properties, and selective regulation of IRES-dependent translation. We also propose a speculative model that suggests that the dynamics of pre-assembly and nuclear import of H/ACA RNPs are crucial regulatory steps that can be finely controlled in the cytoplasm in response to developmental, differentiative and stress stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dyskeratosis Congenita / genetics
  • Dyskeratosis Congenita / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nucleolar / metabolism*
  • Telomere


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DKC1 protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nucleolar