Diversity of LSM Family Proteins: Similarities and Differences

Biochemistry (Mosc). 2021 Jan;86(Suppl 1):S38-S49. doi: 10.1134/S0006297921140042.


Members of the Lsm protein family are found in all three domains of life: bacteria, archaea, and eukarya. They are involved in numerous processes associated with RNA processing and gene expression regulation. A common structural feature of all Lsm family proteins is the presence of the Sm fold consisting of a five-stranded β-sheet and an α-helix at the N-terminus. Heteroheptameric eukaryotic Sm and Lsm proteins participate in the formation of spliceosomes and mRNA decapping. Homohexameric bacterial Lsm protein, Hfq, is involved in the regulation of transcription of different mRNAs by facilitating their interactions with small regulatory RNAs. Furthermore, recently obtained data indicate a new role of Hfq as a ribosome biogenesis factor, as it mediates formation of the productive structure of the 17S rRNA 3'- and 5'-sequences, facilitating their further processing by RNases. Lsm archaeal proteins (SmAPs) form homoheptamers and likely interact with single-stranded uridine-rich RNA elements, although the role of these proteins in archaea is still poorly understood. In this review, we discuss the structural features of the Lsm family proteins from different life domains and their structure-function relationships.

Keywords: Hfq; Lsm family; RNA–protein interactions; SmAP; quaternary structure; ribosome biogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / metabolism
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Eukaryota / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ribosomes / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins