The DDX3 subfamily of the DEAD box helicases: Divergent roles as unveiled by studying different organisms and in vitro assays

Amalia Rosner, Buki Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


DDX3 (or Ded1p), the highly conserved subfamily of the DEAD-box RNA helicase family (40 members in humans), plays important roles in RNA metabolism. DDX3X and DDX3Y, the two human paralogous genes of this subfamily of proteins, have orthologous candidates in a diverse range of eukaryotes, from yeast and plants to animals. While DDX3Y, which is essential for normal spermatogenesis, is translated only in the testes, DDX3X protein is ubiquitously expressed, involved in RNA transcription, RNA splicing, mRNA transport, translation initiation and cell cycle regulation. Studies of recent years have revealed that DDX3X participates in HIV and hepatitis C viral infections, and in hepatocellular carcinoma, a complication of hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections. In the urochordates (i.e., Botryllus schlosseri) and in diverse invertebrate phyla (represented by model organisms such as: Drosophila, Hydra, Planaria), DDX3 proteins (termed also PL10) are involved in developmental pathways, highly expressed in adult undifferentiated soma and germ cells and in some adult and embryo's differentiating tissues. As the mechanistic and functional knowledge of DDX3 proteins is limited, we suggest assembling the available data on DDX3 proteins, from all studied organisms and in vitro assays, depicting a unified mechanistic scheme for DDX3 proteins' functions. Understanding the diverse functions of DDX3 in multicellular organisms may be particularly important for effective strategies of drug design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2517-2525
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number23
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Botryllus schlosseri
  • Cell cycle
  • DDX3
  • DEAD-box RNA helicases
  • HCV
  • HIV-1
  • PL10
  • mRNP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Organic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The DDX3 subfamily of the DEAD box helicases: Divergent roles as unveiled by studying different organisms and in vitro assays'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this