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Nucleic Acids Res. 1992 Jul 25;20(14):3671-8.

hnRNP I, the polypyrimidine tract-binding protein: distinct nuclear localization and association with hnRNAs.

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Universita di Verona, Facolta di Medicina e Chirurgia, Istituto di Scienze Biologiche, Italy.


Many hnRNP proteins and snRNPs interact with hnRNA in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells and affect the fate of hnRNA and its processing into mRNA. There are at least 20 abundant proteins in vertebrate cell hnRNP complexes and their structure and arrangement on specific hnRNAs is likely to be important for the processing of pre-mRNAs. hnRNP I, a basic protein of ca. 58,000 daltons by SDS-PAGE, is one of the abundant hnRNA-binding proteins. Monoclonal antibodies to hnRNP I were produced and full length cDNA clones for hnRNP I were isolated and sequenced. The sequence of hnRNP I (59,632 daltons and pI 9.86) demonstrates that it is identical to the previously described polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB) and shows that it is highly related to hnRNP L. The sequences of these two proteins, I and L, define a new family of hnRNP proteins within the large superfamily of the RNP consensus RNA-binding proteins. Here we describe experiments which reveal new and unique properties on the association of hnRNP I/PTB with hnRNP complexes and on its cellular localization. Micrococcal nuclease digestions show that hnRNP I, along with hnRNP S and P, is released from hnRNP complexes by nuclease digestion more readily than most other hnRNP proteins. This nuclease hypersensitivity suggests that hnRNP I is bound to hnRNA regions that are particularly exposed in the complexes. Immunofluorescence microscopy shows that hnRNP I is found in the nucleoplasm but in addition high concentrations are detected in a discrete perinucleolar structure. Thus, the PTB is one of the major proteins that bind pre-mRNAs; it is bound to nuclease-hypersensitive regions of the hnRNA-protein complexes and shows a novel pattern of nuclear localization.

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