Happy Birthday: 25 Years of DEAD-Box Proteins

  • Patrick LinderEmail author
  • Frances Fuller-PaceEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1259)


RNA helicases of the DEAD-box family are found in all eukaryotes, most bacteria and many archaea. They play important roles in rearranging RNA–RNA and RNA–protein interactions. DEAD-box proteins are ATP-dependent RNA binding proteins and RNA-dependent ATPases. The first helicases of this large family of proteins were described in the 1980s. Since then our perception of these proteins has dramatically changed. From bona fide helicases, they became RNA binding proteins that separate duplex RNAs, in a local manner, by binding and bending the target RNA. In the present review we describe some of the experiments that were important milestones in the life of DEAD-box proteins since their birth 25 years ago.

Key words

RNA helicases ATP-dependent RNA binding RNA-dependent ATPases 



We would like to apologize to the many authors whose work could not be cited in this short review. It is obvious, that many other reports also contributed importantly to the development of the RNA helicase field. Work in the Linder laboratory was continuously and generously supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the University of Geneva. Work in the Fuller-Pace laboratory was supported by the Medical Research Council, the Breast Cancer Campaign, the Association for International Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK. The authors would like to thank the helicase community for a stimulating and collegial environment. We are grateful to our present and past collaborators for their precious contributions to our work and to Peter Redder for critical reading of the manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of GenevaGenève 4Switzerland
  2. 2.Division of Cancer Research, Jacqui Wood Cancer Centre, Ninewells Hospital and Medical SchoolUniversity of DundeeDundeeUK

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