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Biochem Soc Trans. 2010 Aug;38(4):1122-4. doi: 10.1042/BST0381122.

Determinants of ELAV gene-specific regulation.

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School of Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.


How RNA-binding proteins recognize their complement of targets in a complex cellular environment remains poorly understood. Sequence degeneracy and redundancy of short motifs at genomic scales have mostly eluded predictions of specific target genes for gene-specific ELAV (embryonic lethal abnormal visual system)/Hu proteins that bind ubiquitous AU-rich motifs. Using the genetic tools of Drosophila, we have analysed binding properties of ELAV in vitro and ELAV-dependent regulation of its major target ewg (erect wing) in neurons. These studies reveal that an integral part of ELAV gene-specific regulation involves combinatorial binding to variably spaced short U-rich motifs on an extensive binding site.

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