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DEAD box

This term refers to a characteristic sequence motif (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp; DEAD in the one-letter code) (Linder et al, 1989) found within a set of nine extremely conserved amino acid sequences, called helicase motifs that are a common feature of many RNA helicases. Owing to the presence of the DEAD sequence in one of the conserved motifs, the corresponding proteins are being referred to also as the DEAD box family.

DEAD box proteins play a variety of roles in RNA-mediated processes. They function as RNA helicases and chaperones. They catalyze the ATP-dependent unwinding of double-stranded RNA and also facilitate protein displacement and remodeling of RNA or RNA/protein complexes. DEAD box proteins are very specific and cannot mutually be replaced (Jarmoskaite and Russell, 2011; Hilbert et al, 2009; Linder and Jankowsky, 2011).

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