From transcription, to transport, storage, and translation, RNA depends on association with different RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Methods based on next-generation sequencing and protein mass-spectrometry have started to unveil genome-wide interactions of RBPs but many aspects still remain out of sight. How many of the binding sites identified in high-throughput screenings are functional? A number of computational methods have been developed to analyze experimental data and to obtain insights into the specificity of protein-RNA interactions. How can theoretical models be exploited to identify RBPs? In addition to oligomeric complexes, protein and RNA molecules can associate into granular assemblies whose physical properties are still poorly understood. What protein features promote granule formation and what effects do these assemblies have on cell function? Here, we describe the newest in silico, in vitro, and in vivo advances in the field of protein-RNA interactions. We also present the challenges that experimental and computational approaches will have to face in future studies. WIREs RNA 2016, 7:793-810. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1378 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
© 2016 The Authors. WIREs RNA published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.