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RNA. 2012 Mar;18(3):449-61. doi: 10.1261/rna.028506.111. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

La-motif-dependent mRNA association with Slf1 promotes copper detoxification in yeast.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland.


The La-motif (LAM) is an ancient and ubiquitous RNA-binding domain defining a superfamily of proteins, which comprises the genuine La proteins and La-related proteins (LARPs). In contrast to La, which binds and stabilizes pre-tRNAs and other RNA polymerase III transcripts, data on function and RNA targets of the LARPs have remained scarce. We have undertaken a global approach to elucidate the previously suggested role of the yeast LARP Slf1p in copper homeostasis. By applying RNA-binding protein immunopurification-microarray (RIP-Chip) analysis, we show that Slf1p and its paralog Sro9p copurify with overlapping sets of hundreds of functionally related mRNAs, including many transcripts coding for ribosomal proteins and histones. Interestingly, among these potential RNA targets were also mRNAs coding for proteins critical for protection of cells against elevated copper concentrations. Mutations introduced in the conserved aromatic patch of the LAM in Slf1p drastically impaired both association with its targets and Slf1-mediated protection of cells against toxic copper concentrations. Furthermore, we show that Slf1p stabilizes copper-related mRNA targets in a LAM-dependent manner. These results provide the first evidence for post-transcriptional regulation of factors/pathways implicated in copper homeostasis by a cytoplasmic RBP.

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