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Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Mar 18;44(5):2348-61. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw009. Epub 2016 Jan 14.

A short conserved motif in ALYREF directs cap- and EJC-dependent assembly of export complexes on spliced mRNAs.

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Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, D-50674 Cologne, Germany.
Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, D-50674 Cologne, Germany


The export of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) is the final of several nuclear posttranscriptional steps of gene expression. The formation of export-competent mRNPs involves the recruitment of export factors that are assumed to facilitate transport of the mature mRNAs. Using in vitro splicing assays, we show that a core set of export factors, including ALYREF, UAP56 and DDX39, readily associate with the spliced RNAs in an EJC (exon junction complex)- and cap-dependent manner. In order to elucidate how ALYREF and other export adaptors mediate mRNA export, we conducted a computational analysis and discovered four short, conserved, linear motifs present in RNA-binding proteins. We show that mutation in one of the new motifs (WxHD) in an unstructured region of ALYREF reduced RNA binding and abolished the interaction with eIF4A3 and CBP80. Additionally, the mutation impaired proper localization to nuclear speckles and export of a spliced reporter mRNA. Our results reveal important details of the orchestrated recruitment of export factors during the formation of export competent mRNPs.

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