RNA Binding Proteins in Intestinal Epithelial Biology and Colorectal Cancer

Trends Mol Med. 2018 May;24(5):490-506. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2018.03.008. Epub 2018 Apr 5.


The intestinal epithelium is highly proliferative and consists of crypt invaginations that house stem cells and villus projections with differentiated cells. There exists a dynamic equilibrium between proliferation, migration, differentiation, and senescence that is regulated by several factors. Among these are RNA binding proteins (RBPs) that bind their targets in a both context dependent and independent manner. RBP-RNA complexes act as rheostats by regulating expression of RNAs both co- and post-transcriptionally. This is important, especially in response to intestinal injury, to fuel regeneration. The manner in which these RBPs function in the intestine and their interactions with other pivotal pathways in colorectal cancer may provide a framework for new insights and potential therapeutic applications.

Keywords: CUGBP Elav-Like Family Member 1 (CELF1); LIN28; MEX3A; Musashi (MSI); RNA binding protein 3 (RBM3) and Hu-Antigen R (HUR); RNA binding proteins; colorectal cancer; insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA binding proteins (IGF2BP/IMP); intestinal stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA