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Mol Cell. 2002 Jan;9(1):11-22.

The Sm-like Hfq protein increases OxyS RNA interaction with target mRNAs.

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Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The Escherichia coli host factor I, Hfq, binds to many small regulatory RNAs and is required for OxyS RNA repression of fhlA and rpoS mRNA translation. Here we report that Hfq is a bacterial homolog of the Sm and Sm-like proteins integral to RNA processing and mRNA degradation complexes in eukaryotic cells. Hfq exhibits the hallmark features of Sm and Sm-like proteins: the Sm1 sequence motif, a multisubunit ring structure (in this case a homomeric hexamer), and preferential binding to polyU. We also show that Hfq increases the OxyS RNA interaction with its target messages and propose that the enhancement of RNA-RNA pairing may be a general function of Hfq, Sm, and Sm-like proteins.

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