Function of RNA-binding protein Musashi-1 in stem cells

Hideyuki Okano, Hironori Kawahara, Masako Toriya, Keio Nakao, Shinsuke Shibata, Takao Imai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

325 Citations (Scopus)


Musashi is an evolutionarily conserved family of RNA-binding proteins that is preferentially expressed in the nervous system. The first member of the Musashi family was identified in Drosophila. This protein plays an essential role in regulating the asymmetric cell division of ectodermal precursor cells known as sensory organ precursor cells through the translational regulation of target mRNA. In the CNS of Drosophila larvae, however, Musashi is expressed in proliferating neuroblasts and likely has a different function. Its probable mammalian homologue, Musashi-1, is a neural RNA-binding protein that is strongly expressed in fetal and adult neural stem cells (NSCs). Mammalian Musashi-1 augments Notch signaling through the translational repression of its target mRNA, m-Numb, thereby contributing to the self-renewal of NSCs. In addition to its functions in NSCs, the role of mammalian Musashi-1 protein in epithelial stem cells, including intestinal and mammary gland stem cells, is attracting increasing interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-356
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jun 10


  • Intestinal stem cell
  • Mammary gland stem cell
  • Musashi
  • Neural stem cell
  • Notch signaling
  • Numb
  • Translational regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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