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RNA. 2012 Jan;18(1):53-64. doi: 10.1261/rna.029603.111. Epub 2011 Nov 18.

Widespread generation of alternative UTRs contributes to sex-specific RNA binding by UNR.

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Gene Regulation Programme, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and UPF, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.

Erratum in

  • RNA. 2013 Apr;19(4):586. Mihailovich, Marija [corrected to Mihailovic, Marija].


Upstream of N-ras (UNR) is a conserved RNA-binding protein that regulates mRNA translation and stability by binding to sites generally located in untranslated regions (UTRs). In Drosophila, sex-specific binding of UNR to msl2 mRNA and the noncoding RNA roX is believed to play key roles in the control of X-chromosome dosage compensation in both sexes. To investigate broader sex-specific functions of UNR, we have identified its RNA targets in adult male and female flies by high-throughput RNA binding and transcriptome analysis. Here we show that UNR binds to a large set of protein-coding transcripts and to a smaller set of noncoding RNAs in a sex-specific fashion. The analyses also reveal a strong correlation between sex-specific binding of UNR and sex-specific differential expression of UTRs in target genes. Validation experiments indicate that UNR indeed recognizes sex-specifically processed transcripts. These results suggest that UNR exploits the transcript diversity generated by alternative processing and alternative promoter usage to bind and regulate target genes in a sex-specific manner.

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