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RNA-binding proteins play a central role in cellular metabolism by orchestrating the complex interactions of coding, structural and regulatory RNA species. The SAFB (scaffold attachment factor B) proteins (SAFB1, SAFB2 and SAFB-like transcriptional modulator, SLTM), which are highly conserved evolutionarily, were first identified on the basis of their ability to bind scaffold attachment region DNA elements, but attention has subsequently shifted to their RNA-binding and protein–protein interactions. Initial studies identified the involvement of these proteins in the cellular stress response and other aspects of gene regulation. More recently, the multifunctional capabilities of SAFB proteins have shown that they play crucial roles in DNA repair, processing of mRNA and regulatory RNA, as well as in interaction with chromatin-modifying complexes. With the advent of new techniques for identifying RNA-binding sites, enumeration of individual RNA targets has now begun. This review aims to summarise what is currently known about the functions of SAFB proteins.