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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Oct 10;92(21):9445-9.

Double-stranded-RNA-dependent protein kinase and TAR RNA-binding protein form homo- and heterodimers in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Montreal, QC Canada.


The yeast two-hybrid system and far-Western protein blot analysis were used to demonstrate dimerization of human double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-dependent protein kinase (PKR) in vivo and in vitro. A catalytically inactive mutant of PKR with a single amino acid substitution (K296R) was found to dimerize in vivo, and a mutant with a deletion of the catalytic domain of PKR retained the ability to dimerize. In contrast, deletion of the two dsRNA-binding motifs in the N-terminal regulatory domain of PKR abolished dimerization. In vitro dimerization of the dsRNA-binding domain required the presence of dsRNA. These results suggest that the binding of dsRNA by PKR is necessary for dimerization. The mammalian dsRNA-binding protein TRBP, originally identified on the basis of its ability to bind the transactivation region (TAR) of human immunodeficiency virus RNA, also dimerized with itself and with PKR in the yeast assay. Taken together, these results suggest that complexes consisting of different combinations of dsRNA-binding proteins may exist in vivo. Such complexes could mediate differential effects on gene expression and control of cell growth.

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