Unravelling the Mechanisms of RNA Helicase Regulation

Trends Biochem Sci. 2018 Apr;43(4):237-250. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2018.02.001. Epub 2018 Feb 24.


RNA helicases are critical regulators at the nexus of multiple pathways of RNA metabolism, and in the complex cellular environment, tight spatial and temporal regulation of their activity is essential. Dedicated protein cofactors play key roles in recruiting helicases to specific substrates and modulating their catalytic activity. Alongside individual RNA helicase cofactors, networks of cofactors containing evolutionarily conserved domains such as the G-patch and MIF4G domains highlight the potential for cross-regulation of different aspects of gene expression. Structural analyses of RNA helicase-cofactor complexes now provide insight into the diverse mechanisms by which cofactors can elicit specific and coordinated regulation of RNA helicase action. Furthermore, post-translational modifications (PTMs) and long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) regulators have recently emerged as novel modes of RNA helicase regulation.

Keywords: RNA helicase; RNA structure; gene expression; post-translational modification; protein cofactor; ribonucleoprotein complex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biocatalysis*
  • Coenzymes / chemistry
  • Coenzymes / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • RNA Helicases / chemistry
  • RNA Helicases / metabolism*


  • Coenzymes
  • RNA Helicases