The SR protein family comprises a number of phylogenetically conserved and structurally related proteins with a characteristic domain rich in arginine and serine residues, known as the RS domain. They play significant roles in constitutive pre-mRNA splicing and are also important regulators of alternative splicing. In addition they participate in post-splicing activities, such as mRNA nuclear export, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay and mRNA translation. These wide-ranging roles of SR proteins highlight their importance as pivotal regulators of mRNA metabolism, and if these functions are disrupted, developmental defects or disease may result. Furthermore, animal models have shown a highly specific, non-redundant role for individual SR proteins in the regulation of developmental processes. Here, we will review the current literature to demonstrate how SR proteins are emerging as one of the master regulators of gene expression.

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