In the present study, we perform an association analysis focusing on the expression changes of 1344 RNA Binding proteins (RBPs) as a function of age and gender in human liver. We identify 88 and 45 RBPs to be significantly associated with age and gender respectively. Experimental verification of several of the predicted associations in mice confirmed our findings. Our results suggest that a small fraction of the gender-associated RBPs (∼40%) are expressed higher in males than females. Altogether, these observations show that several of these RBPs are important and conserved regulators in maintaining liver function. Further analysis of the protein interaction network of RBPs associated with age and gender based on the centrality measures like degree, betweenness and closeness revealed that several of these RBPs might be prominent players in aging liver and impart gender specific alterations in gene expression via the formation of protein complexes. Indeed, both age and gender-associated RBPs in liver were found to show significantly higher clustering coefficients and network centrality measures compared to non-associated RBPs. The compendium of RBPs and this study will help us gain insight into the role of post-transcriptional regulatory molecules in aging and gender specific expression of genes.
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