Emerging role of RNA binding protein UNR/CSDE1 in melanoma
The prognosis of metastatic melanoma remains poor despite recent advances in targeted and immunotherapy. Deciphering the mechanisms of tumor invasion and metastasis, and elucidating new targets for drug development could substantially improve survival in patients with metastatic melanoma. In this regard, RNA binding proteins (RBP) play an important role in RNA metabolism and are drawing considerable attention as drivers of oncogenesis and therapeutic targets. RNA binding proteins synchronize with the target RNA to play a key role in the regulation of cellular processing and are important for gene transcription and post-translational regulation (1). Wurth et al. recently published an article in Cancer Cell exploring the role of Upstream-of-N-Ras (UNR) in invasion and progression of melanoma cells (2). The UNR gene was identified as a transcription unit located immediately upstream of N-Ras in the genome of several mammalian species (3). UNR protein consists of five cold-shock domains (CSDs). These domains bind single stranded DNA and RNA and consist of ~70 amino-acid residues (4). CSD containing proteins are involved in transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of gene expression. Experiments in Drosophila species have shown the role of UNR in regulating translation of oncogenic transcripts (5).