* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received April 8, 2011; Revision received May 6, 2011
RNA-binding proteins play a significant role in many processes of RNA metabolism, such as splicing and processing, regulation of DNA transcription and RNA translation, etc. Among the great number of RNA-binding proteins, so-called RNA-chaperones occupy an individual niche; they were named for their ability to assist RNA molecules to gain their accurate native spatial structure. When binding with RNAs, they possess the capability of altering (melting) their secondary structure, thus providing a possibility for formation of necessary intramolecular contacts between individual RNA sites for proper folding. These proteins also have an additional helper function in RNA–RNA and RNA–protein interactions. Members of such class of the RNA-binding protein family are Sm and Sm-like proteins (Sm-Like, LSm). The presence of these proteins in bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes emphasizes their biological significance. These proteins are now attractive for researchers because of their implication in many processes associated with RNAs in bacterial and archaeal cells. This review is focused on a comparison of architecture of bacterial and archaeal LSm proteins and their interaction with different RNA molecules.
KEY WORDS: Hfq, Sm-like protein, quaternary structure, RNA–protein interaction