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RNA. 2010 Nov;16(11):2189-204. doi: 10.1261/rna.2211110. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

DDX6 recruits translational silenced human reticulocyte 15-lipoxygenase mRNA to RNP granules.

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Department of Intensive Care, Experimental Research Unit, University Hospital, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany.


Erythroid precursor cells lose the capacity for mRNA synthesis due to exclusion of the nucleus during maturation. Therefore, the stability and translation of mRNAs that code for specific proteins, which function in late stages of maturation when reticulocytes become erythrocytes, are controlled tightly. Reticulocyte 15-lipoxygenase (r15-LOX) initiates the breakdown of mitochondria in mature reticulocytes. Through the temporal restriction of mRNA translation, the synthesis of r15-LOX is prevented in premature cells. The enzyme is synthesized only in mature reticulocytes, although r15-LOX mRNA is already present in erythroid precursor cells. Translation of r15-LOX mRNA is inhibited by hnRNP K and hnRNP E1, which bind to the differentiation control element (DICE) in its 3' untranslated region (3'UTR). The hnRNP K/E1-DICE complex interferes with the joining of the 60S ribosomal subunit to the 40S subunit at the AUG. We took advantage of the inducible human erythroid K562 cell system that fully recapitulates this process to identify so far unknown factors, which are critical for DICE-dependent translational regulation. Applying RNA chromatography with the DICE as bait combined with hnRNP K immunoprecipitation, we specifically purified the DEAD-box RNA helicase 6 (DDX6) that interacts with hnRNP K and hnRNP E1 in a DICE-dependent manner. Employing RNA interference and fluorescence in situ hybridization, we show that DDX6 colocalizes with endogenous human (h)r15-LOX mRNA to P-body-like RNP granules, from which 60S ribosomal subunits are excluded. Our data suggest that in premature erythroid cells translational silencing of hr15-LOX mRNA is maintained by DDX6 mediated storage in these RNP granules.

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