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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2007 Jun;6(6):1049-58. Epub 2007 Feb 26.

The myotonic dystrophy type 2 protein ZNF9 is part of an ITAF complex that promotes cap-independent translation.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.


The 5'-untranslated region of the ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) mRNA contains an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES). Mutational analysis of the ODC IRES has led to the identification of sequences necessary for cap-independent translation of the ODC mRNA. To discover novel IRES trans-acting factors (ITAFs), we performed a proteomics screen for proteins that regulate ODC translation using the wild-type ODC mRNA and a mutant version with an inactive IRES. We identified two RNA-binding proteins that associate with the wild-type ODC IRES but not the mutant IRES. One of these RNA-binding proteins, PCBP2, is an established activator of viral and cellular IRESs. The second protein, ZNF9 (myotonic dystrophy type 2 protein), has not been shown previously to bind IRES-like elements. Using a series of biochemical assays, we validated the interaction of these proteins with ODC mRNA. Interestingly ZNF9 and PCBP2 biochemically associated with each other and appeared to function as part of a larger holo-ITAF ribonucleoprotein complex. Our functional studies showed that PCBP2 and ZNF9 stimulate translation of the ODC IRES. Importantly these results may provide insight into the normal role of ZNF9 and why ZNF9 mutations cause myotonic dystrophy.

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