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RNA. 2004 Feb;10(2):185-91.

Exportin 5 is a RanGTP-dependent dsRNA-binding protein that mediates nuclear export of pre-miRNAs.

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Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie, Heidelberg, Germany.


microRNAs (miRNAs) are widespread among eukaryotes, and studies in several systems have revealed that miRNAs can regulate expression of specific genes. Primary miRNA transcripts are initially processed to approximately 70-nucleotide (nt) stem-loop structures (pre-miRNAs), exported to the cytoplasm, further processed to yield approximately 22-nt dsRNAs, and finally incorporated into ribonucleoprotein particles, which are thought to be the active species. Here we study nuclear export of pre-miRNAs and show that the process is saturable and thus carrier-mediated. Export is sensitive to depletion of nuclear RanGTP and, according to this criterion, mediated by a RanGTP-dependent exportin. An unbiased affinity chromatography approach with immobilized pre-miRNAs identified exportin 5 as the pre-miRNA-specific export carrier. We have cloned exportin 5 from Xenopus and demonstrate that antibodies raised against the Xenopus receptor specifically block pre-miRNA export from nuclei of Xenopus oocytes. We further show that exportin 5 interacts with double-stranded RNA in a sequence-independent manner.

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