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EMBO J. 1995 Sep 1;14(17):4357-64.

Identification of two KH domain proteins in the alpha-globin mRNP stability complex.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Genetics, Philadelphia 19104-6145, USA.


Accumulation of globin mRNAs during erythroid differentiation is dependent on their extraordinary stability. The longevity of human alpha-globin mRNA is associated with a ribonucleoprotein complex (alpha-complex) formed on the 3' untranslated region (3'UTR). One or more of the proteins within this alpha-complex contain strong polycytosine [poly(C)] binding (alpha PCB) activity. In the present report we purify alpha PCB activity from human erythroid K562 cells. Although not able to bind the alpha-globin 3'UTR directly, alpha PCB activity is sufficient to complement alpha-complex formation in a cytosolic extract depleted of poly(C) binding activity. Peptide microsequencing demonstrates that alpha PCB activity contains two structurally related poly(C) binding proteins. These two proteins, alpha-complex protein (alpha CP)-1 and -2, have an overall structural identity of 80% and contain three repeats of the K homology (KH) domain which is found in a subset of RNA binding proteins. Epitope-tagged recombinant alpha CP-1 and alpha CP-2 expressed in cells are each incorporated into the alpha-complex. We conclude that alpha CP-1 and alpha CP-2, members of the KH domain RNA binding protein family, are involved in formation of a sequence-specific alpha-globin mRNP complex associated with alpha-globin mRNA stability. As such this represents the first example of a specific function for this class of proteins and suggests potential roles for other members of this protein family.

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