RNA-protein interactions: Central players in coordination of regulatory networks

Bioessays. 2021 Feb;43(2):e2000118. doi: 10.1002/bies.202000118. Epub 2020 Dec 7.


Changes in the abundance of protein and RNA molecules can impair the formation of complexes in the cell leading to toxicity and death. Here we exploit the information contained in protein, RNA and DNA interaction networks to provide a comprehensive view of the regulation layers controlling the concentration-dependent formation of assemblies in the cell. We present the emerging concept that RNAs can act as scaffolds to promote the formation ribonucleoprotein complexes and coordinate the post-transcriptional layer of gene regulation. We describe the structural and interaction network properties that characterize the ability of protein and RNA molecules to interact and phase separate in liquid-like compartments. Finally, we show that presence of structurally disordered regions in proteins correlate with the propensity to undergo liquid-to-solid phase transitions and cause human diseases. Also see the video abstract here https://youtu.be/kfpqibsNfS0.

Keywords: Interaction network; RNA binding protein; cell homeostasis; cell regulation; intrinsically disordered protein; liquid phase separation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • DNA
  • Humans
  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins*
  • Phase Transition
  • RNA


  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins
  • RNA
  • DNA