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Biochem J. 2005 Jan 1;385(Pt 1):289-99.

Ribosomal protein L7a binds RNA through two distinct RNA-binding domains.

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Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biotecnologie Mediche, Università Federico II, Via Sergio Pansini 5 Napoli, I-80131 Italy.


The human ribosomal protein L7a is a component of the major ribosomal subunit. We previously identified three nuclear-localization-competent domains within L7a, and demonstrated that the domain defined by aa (amino acids) 52-100 is necessary, although not sufficient, to target the L7a protein to the nucleoli. We now demonstrate that L7a interacts in vitro with a presumably G-rich RNA structure, which has yet to be defined. We also demonstrate that the L7a protein contains two RNA-binding domains: one encompassing aa 52-100 (RNAB1) and the other encompassing aa 101-161 (RNAB2). RNAB1 does not contain any known nucleic-acid-binding motif, and may thus represent a new class of such motifs. On the other hand, a specific region of RNAB2 is highly conserved in several other protein components of the ribonucleoprotein complex. We have investigated the topology of the L7a-RNA complex using a recombinant form of the protein domain that encompasses residues 101-161 and a 30mer poly(G) oligonucleotide. Limited proteolysis and cross-linking experiments, and mass spectral analyses of the recombinant protein domain and its complex with poly(G) revealed the RNA-binding region.

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