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Nucleic Acids Res. Dec 25, 1994; 22(25): 5582–5589.
PMCID: PMC310120

Binding of Y-box proteins to RNA: involvement of different protein domains.

Abstract

Eukaryotic Y-box proteins are reported to interact with a wide variety of nucleic acid structures to act as transcription factors and mRNA masking proteins. The modular structure of Y-box proteins includes a highly conserved N-terminal cold-shock domain (CSD, equivalent to the bacterial cold-shock proteins) plus four basic C-terminal domains containing arginine clusters and aromatic residues. In addition, the basic domains are separated by acidic regions which contain several potential sites for serine/threonine phosphorylation. The interaction of Y-box proteins, isolated from Xenopus oocytes (FRGY2 type), with RNA molecules has been studied by UV crosslinking and protein fragmentation. We have identified two distinct binding activities. The CSD interacts preferentially with the polypurines poly(A,G) and poly(G) but not poly(A), this activity being sensitive to 5 mM MgCl2 but not to 5 mM spermidine. In the presence of 1 mM MgCl2 or 1 mM spermidine, the basic domains interact preferentially with poly(C,U), this activity being sensitive to 0.5 M NaCl. Binding of the basic domains is also sensitive to low concentrations of heparin. The basic domains can be crosslinked individually to labelled RNA. These results are discussed with reference to the various specificities noted in the binding of Y-box proteins to RNA and DNA.

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Selected References

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