The Musashi family RNA-binding proteins in stem cells

Kenichi Horisawa, Takao Imai, Hideyuki Okano, Hiroshi Yanagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The Musashi family is an evolutionarily conserved group of RNA-binding proteins. In mammal, two members of the group, Msi1 and Msi2, have been identified to date. Msi1 is considered to play roles in maintaining the stem cell status (stemness) of neural stem/progenitor cells in adults and in the development of central nervous system through translational regulation of its target mRNAs, which encode regulators of signal transduction and the cell cycle. Recently, strong expression of Msi1 in various somatic stem/progenitor cells of adult tissues, such as eye, gut, stomach, breast, and hair follicle, has been reported. The protein is also expressed in various cancer cells, and ectopically emerging cells have been found in neural tissues of patients with diseases involving neural disorder, including epilepsy. Many novel target mRNAs and regulatory pathways of Msi1 have been reported in recent years. Here, we present a review of the functions and action mechanisms of Msi1 protein and discuss possible directions for further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalBiomolecular Concepts
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 May 1


  • Musashi
  • RNA-binding protein
  • post-transcriptional regulation
  • progenitor cell
  • stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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