The evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding protein, Musashi, regulates neural stem cell self-renewal. Musashi expression is also indicative of stem cell populations in breast and intestinal tissues and is linked to cell overproliferation in cancers of these tissues. Musashi has been primarily implicated as a repressor of target mRNAs in stem cell populations. However, little is known about the mechanism by which Musashi exerts mRNA translational control or how Musashi function is regulated. Recent findings in oocytes of the frog, Xenopus, indicate an unexpected role for Musashi as an activator of a number of maternal mRNAs during meiotic cell cycle progression. Given the importance of Musashi function in stem cell biology and the implications of aberrant Musashi expression in cancer, it is critical that we understand the molecular processes that regulate Musashi function.

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