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Science. 2001 Jan 5;291(5501):121-5.

Active disruption of an RNA-protein interaction by a DExH/D RNA helicase.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA. 02115, USA.


All aspects of cellular RNA metabolism and the replication of many viruses require DExH/D proteins that manipulate RNA in a manner that requires nucleoside triphosphates. Although DExH/D proteins have been shown to unwind purified RNA duplexes, most RNA molecules in the cellular environment are complexed with proteins. It has therefore been speculated that DExH/D proteins may also affect RNA-protein interactions. We demonstrate that the DExH protein NPH-II from vaccinia virus can displace the protein U1A from RNA in an active adenosine triphosphate-dependent fashion. NPH-II increases the rate of U1A dissociation by more than three orders of magnitude while retaining helicase processivity. This indicates that DExH/D proteins can effectively catalyze protein displacement from RNA and thereby participate in the structural reorganization of ribonucleoprotein assemblies.

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