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J Mol Biol. 2002 Jul 12;320(3):475-88.

Nucleolin associates with a subset of the human Ro ribonucleoprotein complexes.

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University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen Center of Molecular Life Sciences, Department of Biochemistry, The Netherlands.


Ro RNPs are evolutionarily conserved, small cytoplasmic RNA-protein complexes with an unknown function. In human cells, Ro RNPs consist of one of the four hY RNAs and two core proteins: Ro60 and La. Recently, the association of hnRNP I and hnRNP K with particles containing hY1 and hY3 RNAs has been described. The association of three other proteins, namely calreticulin, Ro52 and RoBPI, with (subsets of) the Ro RNPs is still controversial. To gain more insight into the composition and function of the Ro RNPs, we have immunopurified these particles from HeLa cell extracts using monoclonal antibodies against Ro60 and La. Using this approach, we have identified the RNA-binding protein nucleolin as a novel subunit of Ro RNP particles containing hY1 or hY3 RNA, but not hY4 and hY5 RNA. Using an in vitro hY RNA-binding assay we established that the internal pyrimidine-rich loop of hY1 and hY3 RNA is essential for the association of nucleolin. The binding is critically dependent on the presence of all four RNP motifs of nucleolin, but not of the C-terminal RGG-box. Moreover, we demonstrate that, in contrast to nucleolin and hnRNP K, nucleolin and hnRNP I can bind simultaneously to the internal pyrimidine-rich loop of hY1 RNA. We postulate that nucleolin functions in the biogenesis and/or trafficking of hY1 and hY3 RNPs through the nucleolus and subsequent transport to the cytoplasm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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