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Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Oct;41(18):8715-25. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt649. Epub 2013 Jul 25.

Conservation of RNA chaperone activity of the human La-related proteins 4, 6 and 7.

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Department of Biology, York University, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada.


The La module is a conserved tandem arrangement of a La motif and RNA recognition motif whose function has been best characterized in genuine La proteins. The best-characterized substrates of La proteins are pre-tRNAs, and previous work using tRNA mediated suppression in Schizosaccharomyces pombe has demonstrated that yeast and human La enhance the maturation of these using two distinguishable activities: UUU-3'OH-dependent trailer binding/protection and a UUU-3'OH independent activity related to RNA chaperone function. The La module has also been identified in several conserved families of La-related proteins (LARPs) that engage other RNAs, but their mode of RNA binding and function(s) are not well understood. We demonstrate that the La modules of the human LARPs 4, 6 and 7 are also active in tRNA-mediated suppression, even in the absence of stable UUU-3'OH trailer protection. Rather, the capacity of these to enhance pre-tRNA maturation is associated with RNA chaperone function, which we demonstrate to be a conserved activity for each hLARP in vitro. Our work reveals insight into the mechanisms by which La module containing proteins discriminate RNA targets and demonstrates that RNA chaperone activity is a conserved function across representative members of the La motif-containing superfamily.

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