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REVIEW: Little but Loud. The Diversity of Functions of Small Proteins and Peptides – Translational Products of Short Reading Frames

Petr V. Sergiev1,2,3,a* and Maria P. Rubtsova1,b*

1Faculty of Chemistry, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia;

2Skoltech Center of Life Sciences, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, 143025 Skolkovo, Russia

3Institute of Functional Genomics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received April 27, 2021; Revised May 27, 2021; Accepted May 27, 2021
Cell functioning is tightly regulated process. For many years, research in the fields of proteomics and functional genomics has been focused on the role of proteins in cell functioning. The advances in science have led to the uncovering that short open reading frames, previously considered non-functional, serve a variety of functions. Short reading frames in polycistronic mRNAs often regulate their stability and translational efficiency of the main reading frame. The improvement of proteomic analysis methods has made it possible to identify the products of translation of short open reading frames in quantities that suggest the existence of functional role of those peptides and short proteins. Studies demonstrating their role unravel a new level of the regulation of cell functioning and its adaptation to changing conditions. This review is devoted to the analysis of functions of recently discovered peptides and short proteins.
KEY WORDS: peptides, small open reading frames, long non-coding RNAs, alternative proteins

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297921090091