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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 1, 1996; 93(20): 11115–11120.

Poly(rC) binding protein 2 binds to stem-loop IV of the poliovirus RNA 5' noncoding region: identification by automated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.


The 5' noncoding region of poliovirus RNA contains an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) for cap-independent initiation of translation. Utilization of the IRES requires the participation of one or more cellular proteins that mediate events in the translation initiation reaction, but whose biochemical roles have not been defined. In this report, we identify a cellular RNA binding protein isolated from the ribosomal salt wash of uninfected HeLa cells that specifically binds to stem-loop IV, a domain located in the central part of the poliovirus IRES. The protein was isolated by specific RNA affinity chromatography, and 55% of its sequence was determined by automated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The sequence obtained matched that of poly(rC) binding protein 2 (PCBP2), previously identified as an RNA binding protein from human cells. PCBP2, as well as a related protein, PCBP1, was over-expressed in Escherichia coli after cloning the cDNAs into an expression plasmid to produce a histidine-tagged fusion protein. Specific interaction between recombinant PCBP2 and poliovirus stem-loop IV was demonstrated by RNA mobility shift analysis. The closely related PCBP1 showed no stable interaction with the RNA. Stem-loop IV RNA containing a three nucleotide insertion that abrogates translation activity and virus viability was unable to bind PCBP2.

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