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J Mol Biol. 1996 Jun 28;259(5):904-15.

A Xenopus laevis homologue of the La autoantigen binds the pyrimidine tract of the 5' UTR of ribosomal protein mRNAs in vitro: implication of a protein factor in complex formation.

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Istituto di Biologia Cellulare CNR, Roma, Italy.


In Xenopus and other vertebrates, ribosomal protein mRNAs share a common sequence in the 5' untranslated region (5' UTR), in particular a pyrimidine tract at the 5' end, which has been demonstrated to be involved in the translational regulation of this class of mRNAs. In previous studies, carried out in the Xenopus system, we demonstrated the specific binding of two proteins (57 kDa and 47 kDa) to the pyrimidine tract of the mRNAs for three different ribosomal proteins. Here, we show that the two binding proteins are in fact one; one being the cleavage product of the other. By immunoprecipitation and protein purification, this binding protein has been identified as the Xenopus homologue of the human La autoantigen, an RNA-binding protein previously reported to be implicated in RNA polymerase III transcription termination and in translation initiation of poliovirus and immunodeficiency virus type 1 RNAs. We show that the specific interaction of La with the 5' pyrimidine tract of ribosomal protein mRNA is mediated by a protease-sensitive factor, which, after assisting La-RNA binding, dissociates from the complex and becomes again available to promote further binding. We show that mutations in the 5' UTR pyrimidine tract, known to disrupt the translational control of ribosomal protein mRNA, severely impair La binding. Although a direct relationship between ribosomal protein mRNA translation and La binding is not yet available, the properties of the interaction suggest that La protein, possibly together with other components, might be involved in translational regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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