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Clin Exp Immunol. 2001 Jul;125(1):162-8.

Heterogeneity of human Ro ribonucleoproteins (RNPS): nuclear retention of Ro RNPS containing the human hY5 RNA in human and mouse cells.

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Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.


Ro ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) are autoantigens that result from the association of a 60-kDa protein (Ro60) with a small RNA (hY1, hY3, hY4 or hY5 in humans, mY1 or mY3 in mice). Previous studies localized Ro RNPs to the cytoplasm. Because Ro RNPs containing hY5 RNA (Ro(hY5) RNPs) have unique biochemical and immunological properties, their intracellular localization was reassessed. Subcellular distribution of mouse and human Ro RNPs in intact and hY-RNA transfected cells was assessed by immunoprecipitation and Northern hybridization. Human Ro(hY1--4) RNPs as well as murine Ro(mY1, mY3) RNPs are exclusively cytoplasmic. Ro RNPs containing an intact hY5 RNA, but not those containing a mutated form of hY5 RNA, are found in the nuclear fractions of human and mouse cells. Ro(hY5) RNPs are stably associated with transcriptionally active La protein and are known to associate with RoBPI, a nuclear autoantigen. Our results demonstrate that Ro(hY5) RNPs are specifically present in the nucleus of cultured human and murine cells. The signal for nuclear localization of Ro(hY5) RNPs appears to reside within the hY5 sequence itself. In conclusion, we suggest that the unique localization and interactions of primate-specific Ro(hY5) RNPs reflect functions that are distinct from the predicted cytoplasmic function(s) of more conserved Ro RNPs.

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