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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 8;276(23):20711-8. Epub 2001 Mar 13.

The heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins I and K interact with a subset of the ro ribonucleoprotein-associated Y RNAs in vitro and in vivo.

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Institute of Medical Biochemistry, University of Vienna, the Vienna Biocenter, Dr. Bohr-Gasse 9, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.


The hY RNAs are a group of four small cytoplasmic RNAs of unknown function that are stably associated with at least two proteins, Ro60 and La, to form Ro ribonucleoprotein complexes. Here we show that the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNP) I and K are able to associate with a subset of hY RNAs in vitro and demonstrate these interactions to occur also in vivo in a yeast three-hybrid system. Experiments performed in vitro and in vivo with deletion mutants of hY1 RNA revealed its pyrimidine-rich central loop to be involved in interactions with both hnRNP I and K and clearly showed their binding sites to be different from the Ro60 binding site. Both hY1 and hY3 RNAs coprecipitated with hnRNP I in immunoprecipitation experiments performed with HeLa S100 extracts and cell extracts from COS-1 cells transiently transfected with VSV-G-tagged hnRNP-I, respectively. Furthermore, both anti-Ro60 and anti-La antibodies coprecipitated hnRNP I, whereas coprecipitation of hnRNP K was not observed. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that hnRNP I is a stable component of a subpopulation of Ro RNPs, whereas hnRNP K may be transiently bound or interact only with (rare) Y RNAs that are devoid of Ro60 and La. Given that functions related to translation regulation have been assigned to both proteins and also to La, our findings may provide novel clues toward understanding the role of Y RNAs and their respective RNP complexes.

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