ELAV (embryonic lethal abnormal visual system)/Hu family proteins are prototype RNA-binding proteins with binding preferences for AU-rich regions. Due to frequent occurrence of AU-rich motifs in introns and untranslated regions, it is poorly understood how gene-specific RNA-binding proteins, such as ELAV/Hu family members, recognize their complement of target RNAs in a complex cellular environment. The powerful genetic tools of Drosophila make the fruitfly an excellent model to study alternative mRNA processing in vivo in a developing organism. Recent sequencing of 12 Drosophila genomes will provide a novel resource to enhance our understanding of how gene-specific regulation of mRNA processing is achieved by ELAV/Hu family proteins.

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