The RBPome: unlocking a new layer in gene regulation

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In 2012, Genome Biology joined with a number of other journals to publish articles describing the ENCODE project, which set out to catalog how proteins bind to the genome in order to regulate transcription. With a similar goal, we published a special issue focused on epigenomics, which looked at both DNA-bound proteins and epigenetic modifications to the DNA molecule itself, again with a view to better understanding the regulation of transcription.

Although we continue to publish many epigenomics articles, we were keen this year to turn our attention to a new frontier of gene regulation: the RBPome. Just as proteins bind DNA to regulate transcription, RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) bind to the transcriptome in order to regulate RNA metabolism.

Scope and highlights

We have therefore put together an issue dedicated to the RBPome; that is, focused on RBPs and their recognition elements in the transcriptome.

The issue, which is now published in full, includes Research, Method, Software, Review, Research Highlight and Editorial articles detailing many aspects of gene regulation by RBPs.

These aspects include the control of mRNA splicing and abundance, as well as the role of RBPs in small RNA biology. New bioinformatics and wet lab methods for studying the RBPome are also described.

To read more about some of the highlights of the RBPome issue, please see our research synopses in Biome magazine and previous blog posts, as well as our Research Highlight articles by Robert Reenan, Bojan Zagrovic and Elmar Wahle. Alternatively, for an overview of all the studies included in the issue, please see our Editorial article.

The Guest Editors

We have been very fortunate in having John Rinn (left) and Jernej Ule (right) serve as Guest Editors for the issue – and they have both been supremely generous with their time and expertise, for which we are very grateful.

Jernej developed the highly influential CLIP and iCLIP methods for mapping the RBPome, while John has made important breakthroughs in the study of long non-coding RNAs that have led him to an interest in the RBPome. Please do read their Editorial article discussing the past, present and future of the RBPome field, as well as their individual Method article contributions.