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RNA. 2013 Mar;19(3):295-305. doi: 10.1261/rna.037317.112. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Phosphorylation at intrinsically disordered regions of PAM2 motif-containing proteins modulates their interactions with PABPC1 and influences mRNA fate.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas-Medical School, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Cytoplasmic poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) C1 recruits different interacting partners to regulate mRNA fate. The majority of PABP-interacting proteins contain a PAM2 motif to mediate their interactions with PABPC1. However, little is known about the regulation of these interactions or the corresponding functional consequences. Through in silico analysis, we found that PAM2 motifs are generally embedded within an extended intrinsic disorder region (IDR) and are located next to cluster(s) of potential serine (Ser) or threonine (Thr) phosphorylation sites within the IDR. We hypothesized that phosphorylation at these Ser/Thr sites regulates the interactions between PAM2-containing proteins and PABPC1. In the present study, we have tested this hypothesis using complementary approaches to increase or decrease phosphorylation. The results indicate that changing the extent of phosphorylation of three PAM2-containing proteins (Tob2, Pan3, and Tnrc6c) alters their ability to interact with PABPC1. Results from experiments using phospho-blocking or phosphomimetic mutants in PAM2-containing proteins further support our hypothesis. Moreover, the phosphomimetic mutations appreciably affected the functions of these proteins in mRNA turnover and gene silencing. Taken together, these results provide a new framework for understanding the roles of intrinsically disordered proteins in the dynamic and signal-dependent control of cytoplasmic mRNA functions.

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