Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a motor neuron disease caused by mutations/deletions within the survival of motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene that lead to a pathological reduction of SMN protein levels. SMN is part of a multiprotein complex, functioning as a molecular chaperone that facilitates the assembly of spliceosomal small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNP). In addition to its role in spliceosome formation, SMN has also been found to interact with mRNA-binding proteins (mRBPs), and facilitate their assembly into mRNP transport granules. The association of protein and RNA in RNP complexes plays an important role in an extensive and diverse set of cellular processes that regulate neuronal growth, differentiation, and the maturation and plasticity of synapses. This review discusses the role of SMN in RNP assembly and localization, focusing on molecular defects that affect mRNA processing and may contribute to SMA pathology.