MSY2 and MSY4 bind a conserved sequence in the 3' untranslated region of protamine 1 mRNA in vitro and in vivo
Braun, Robert E.
Davies, Holly G.
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Y-box proteins are major constituents of ribonucleoprotein particles (RNPs) which contain translationally silent mRNAs in gametic cells. We have recently shown that a sequence-specific RNA binding activity present in spermatogenic cells contains the two Y-box proteins MSY2 and MSY4. We show here that MSY2 and MSY4 bind a sequence, 5'-UCCAUCA-3', present in the 3' untranslated region of the translationally repressed protamine 1 (Prm1) mRNA. Using pre- and post-RNase T1-digested substrate RNAs, it was determined that MSY2 and MSY4 can bind an RNA of eight nucleotides containing the MSY2 and MSY4 binding site. Single nucleotide mutations in the sequence eliminated the binding of MSY2 and MSY4 in an electrophoretic mobility shift assay, and the resulting mutants failed to compete for binding in a competition assay. A consensus site of U(AC)C(A)CAU(C)CA(CU) (subscripts indicate nucleotides which do not disrupt YRS binding by MSY2 and MSY4), denoted the Y-box recognition site (YRS), was defined from this mutational analysis. These mutations in the YRS were further characterized in vivo using a novel application of the yeast three-hybrid system. Experiments with transgenic mice show that disruption of the YRS in vivo relieves Prm1-like repression of a reporter gene. The conservation of the RNA binding motifs among Y-box protein family members raises the possibility that other Y-box proteins may have previously unrecognized sequence-specific RNA binding activities.