Cold shock domain containing E1, or CSDE1, is emerging as a powerful protein in the cell. Growing evidence suggests that CSDE1 reprograms how RNA codes are ultimately translated into proteins, which means CSDE1 could be pivotal in how cells respond to internal and external changes like those brought on by disease. In a new review, researchers outline a model that could explain CSDE1’s reprogramming ability. According to the model, CSDE1 acts as a connector between RNAs and the specific proteins capable of regulating or altering those RNAs. For regulating proteins that can’t normally bind to RNAs, CSDE1 provides a bridge between the two. For proteins that do bind to RNAs, CSDE1 enhances that connection, and for proteins that can but don’t typically bind to certain RNAs, CSDE1 reshapes those RNAs to make binding possible. How CSDE1 connects proteins to RNAs in response to stress isn’t yet clear, but equipped with this new model, researchers could begin to understand CSDE1’s role in human disease.