The multifunctional Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) protein is required for the survival of all organisms of the animal kingdom. SMN impacts various aspects of RNA metabolism through the formation and/or interaction with ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. SMN regulates biogenesis of small nuclear RNPs, small nucleolar RNPs, small Cajal body-associated RNPs, signal recognition particles and telomerase. SMN also plays an important role in DNA repair, transcription, pre-mRNA splicing, histone mRNA processing, translation, selenoprotein synthesis, macromolecular trafficking, stress granule formation, cell signaling and cytoskeleton maintenance. The tissue-specific requirement of SMN is dictated by the variety and the abundance of its interacting partners. Reduced expression of SMN causes spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA displays a broad spectrum ranging from embryonic lethality to an adult onset. Aberrant expression and/or localization of SMN has also been associated with male infertility, inclusion body myositis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and osteoarthritis. This review provides a summary of various SMN functions with implications to a better understanding of SMA and other pathological conditions.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ravindra-singh/34/