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J Biol Chem. 1995 Apr 28;270(17):10179-86.

Human signal recognition particle (SRP) Alu-associated protein also binds Alu interspersed repeat sequence RNAs. Characterization of human SRP9.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Growth Regulation, NICHD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2753, USA.


Nearly 1 million interspersed Alu elements reside in the human genome. Alu retrotransposition is presumably mediated by full-length Alu transcripts synthesized by RNA polymerase III, while some polymerase III-synthesized Alu transcripts undergo 3'-processing and accumulate as small cytoplasmic (sc) RNAs of unknown function. Interspersed Alu sequences also reside in the untranslated regions of some mRNAs. The Alu sequence is related to a portion of the 7SL RNA component of signal recognition particle (SRP). This region of 7SL RNA together with 9- and 14-kDa polypeptides (SRP9/14) regulates translational elongation of ribosomes engaged by SRP. Here we characterize human (h) SRP9 and show that it, together with hSRP14 (SRP9/14), forms the activity previously identified as Alu RNA-binding protein (RBP). The primate-specific C-terminal tail of hSRP14 does not appreciably affect binding to scAlu RNA. Kd values for three Alu-homologous scRNAs were determined using Alu RBP (SRP9/14) purified from HeLa cells. The Alu region of 7SL, scAlu, and scB1 RNAs exhibited Kd values of 203 pM, 318 pM, and 1.8 nM, respectively. Finally, Alu RBP can bind with high affinity to synthetic mRNAs that contain interspersed Alus in their untranslated regions.

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