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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2939. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3939.

Scaffold function of long non-coding RNA HOTAIR in protein ubiquitination.

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Laboratory of Genetics, National Institute on Aging-Intramural Research Program, NIH, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.


Although mammalian long non-coding (lnc)RNAs are best known for modulating transcription, their post-transcriptional influence on mRNA splicing, stability and translation is emerging. Here we report a post-translational function for the lncRNA HOTAIR as an inducer of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. HOTAIR associates with E3 ubiquitin ligases bearing RNA-binding domains, Dzip3 and Mex3b, as well as with their respective ubiquitination substrates, Ataxin-1 and Snurportin-1. In this manner, HOTAIR facilitates the ubiquitination of Ataxin-1 by Dzip3 and Snurportin-1 by Mex3b in cells and in vitro, and accelerates their degradation. HOTAIR levels are highly upregulated in senescent cells, causing rapid decay of targets Ataxin-1 and Snurportin-1, and preventing premature senescence. These results uncover a role for a lncRNA, HOTAIR, as a platform for protein ubiquitination.

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