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Plant Cell. 2004 Apr;16(4):1047-59. Epub 2004 Mar 22.

Enod40, a short open reading frame-containing mRNA, induces cytoplasmic localization of a nuclear RNA binding protein in Medicago truncatula.

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Institut des Sciences du Végétal, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 91198 Gif sur Yvette, France.

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In eukaryotes, diverse mRNAs containing only short open reading frames (sORF-mRNAs) are induced at specific stages of development. Their mechanisms of action may involve the RNA itself and/or sORF-encoded oligopeptides. Enod40 genes code for highly structured plant sORF-mRNAs involved in root nodule organogenesis. A novel RNA binding protein interacting with the enod40 RNA, MtRBP1 (for Medicago truncatula RNA Binding Protein 1), was identified using a yeast three-hybrid screening. Immunolocalization studies and use of a MtRBP1-DsRed2 fluorescent protein fusion showed that MtRBP1 localized to nuclear speckles in plant cells but was exported into the cytoplasm during nodule development in enod40-expressing cells. Direct involvement of the enod40 RNA in MtRBP1 relocalization into cytoplasmic granules was shown using a transient expression assay. Using a (green fluorescent protein)/MS2 bacteriophage system to tag the enod40 RNA, we detected in vivo colocalization of the enod40 RNA and MtRBP1 in these granules. This in vivo approach to monitor RNA-protein interactions allowed us to demonstrate that cytoplasmic relocalization of nuclear proteins is an RNA-mediated cellular function of a sORF-mRNA.

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