DEAD box proteins, characterized by the conserved motif Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp (DEAD), are putative RNA helicases. They are implicated in a number of cellular processes involving alteration of RNA secondary structure such as translation initiation, nuclear and mitochondrial splicing, and ribosome and spliceosome assembly. Based on their distribution patterns, some members of this family are believed to be involved in embryogenesis, spermatogenesis, and cellular growth and division. This gene encodes a DEAD box protein, which interacts specifically with hepatitis C virus core protein resulting a change in intracellular location. This gene has a homolog located in the nonrecombining region of the Y chromosome. The protein sequence is 91% identical between this gene and the Y-linked homolog.
DDX3X is involved in many different types of cancer. For example, it is abnormally expressed in breast epithelial cancer cells in which its expression is activated by HIF1A during hypoxia. Increased expression of DDX3X by HIF1A in hypoxia is initiated by the direct binding of HIF1A to the HIF1A response element, as verified with chromatin immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter assay. Since the expression of DDX3X is affected by the activity of HIF1A, the co-localization of these proteins has also been demonstrated in MDA-MB-231 xenograft tumor samples.
In HeLa cells DDX3X is reported to control cell cycle progression through Cyclin E1. More specifically, DDX3X was shown to directly bind to the 5´ UTR of Cyclin E1 and thereby facilitating the translation of the protein. Increased protein levels of Cyclin E1 was demonstrated to mediate the transition of S phase entry.
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