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PLoS One. 2015 Jun 29;10(6):e0131323. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131323. eCollection 2015.

Kinetoplastid Specific RNA-Protein Interactions in Trypanosoma cruzi Ribosome Biogenesis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology & Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, United States of America.


RNA binding proteins (RBP) play essential roles in the highly conserved and coordinated process of ribosome biogenesis. Our laboratory has previously characterized two essential and abundant RBPs, P34 and P37, in Trypanosoma brucei which are required for several critical steps in ribosome biogenesis. The genes for these proteins have only been identified in kinetoplastid organisms but not in the host genome. We have identified a homolog of the TbP34 and TbP37 in a T. cruzi strain (termed TcP37/NRBD). Although the N-terminal APK-rich domain and RNA recognition motifs are conserved, the C-terminal region which contains putative nuclear and nucleolar localization signals in TbP34 and TbP37 is almost entirely missing from TcP37/NRBD. We have shown that TcP37/NRBD is expressed in T. cruzi epimastigotes at the level of mature mRNA and protein. Despite the loss of the C-terminal domain, TcP37/NRBD is present in the nucleus, including the nucleolus, and the cytoplasm. TcP37/NRBD interacts directly with Tc 5S rRNA, but does not associate with polyadenylated RNA. TcP37/NRBD also associates in vivo and in vitro with large ribosomal protein TcL5 and, unlike the case of T. brucei, this association is strongly enhanced by the presence of 5S rRNA, suggesting that the loss of the C-terminal domain of TcP37/NRBD may alter the interactions within the complex. These results indicate that the unique preribosomal complex comprised of L5, 5S rRNA, and the trypanosome-specific TcP37/NRBD or TbP34 and TbP37 is functionally conserved in trypanosomes despite the differences in the C-termini of the trypanosome-specific protein components.

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