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RNA. 2019 Jul 9. pii: rna.071621.119. doi: 10.1261/rna.071621.119. [Epub ahead of print]

Sequestration of microRNA-mediated target repression by the Ago2-associated RNA binding protein FAM120A.

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David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, University of California at Los Angeles.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Argonaute (Ago) proteins interact with various binding partners and play a pivotal role in microRNA (miRNA)-mediated silencing pathways. By utilizing immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry to determine cytoplasmic Ago2 protein complexes in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), we identified a putative RNA-binding protein FAM120A (also known as OSSA/C9ORF10) as an Ago2 interacting protein. Individual nucleotide resolution Cross-Linking and ImmunoPrecipitation (iCLIP) analysis revealed that FAM120A binds to homopolymeric tracts in 3' UTRs of about 2,000 mRNAs, particularly poly(G) sequences. Comparison of FAM120A iCLIP and Ago2 iCLIP reveals that greater than one-third of mRNAs bound by Ago2 in mESCs are co-bound by FAM120A. Furthermore, such FAM120A-bound Ago2 target genes are not subject to Ago2-mediated target degradation. Reporter assays suggest that the 3' UTRs of several FAM120A-bound miRNA target genes are less sensitive to Ago2-mediated target repression than those of FAM120A-unbound miRNA targets and FAM120A modulates them via its G-rich target sites. These findings suggest that Ago2 may exist in multiple protein complexes with varying degrees of functionality.


Ago2; FAM120A; iCLIP; microRNA


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