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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33140. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033140. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

Two isoforms of the mRNA binding protein IGF2BP2 are generated by alternative translational initiation.

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University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories and Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


IGF2BP2 is a member of a family of mRNA binding proteins that, collectively, have been shown to bind to several different mRNAs in mammalian cells, including one of the mRNAs encoding insulin-like growth factor-2. Polymorphisms in the Igf2bp2 gene are associated with risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but detailed functional characterisation of IGF2BP2 protein is lacking. By immunoblotting with C-terminally reactive antibodies we identified a novel IGF2BP2 isoform with a molecular weight of 58 kDa in both human and rodents, that is expressed at somewhat lower levels than the full-length 65 kDa protein. We demonstrated by mutagenesis that this isoform is generated by alternative translation initiation at the internal Met69. It lacks a conserved N-terminal RNA Recognition Motif (RRM) and would be predicted to differ functionally from the canonical full length isoform. We further investigated IGF2BP2 mRNA transcripts by amplification of cDNA using 5'-RACE. We identified multiple transcription start sites of the human, mouse and rat Igf2bp2 genes in a highly conserved region only 50-90 nts upstream of the major translation start site, ruling out the existence of N-terminally extended isoforms. We conclude that structural heterogeneity of IGF2BP2 protein should be taken into account when considering cellular function.

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