Poly(A)-binding proteins (PABPs) play crucial roles in mRNA biogenesis, stability, transport and translational control in most eukaryotic cells. Although animal PABPs are well-studied proteins, the biological role, three-dimensional structure and RNA-binding mode of plant PABPs remain largely uncharacterized. Here, we report the structural features and RNA-binding mode of a Citrus sinensis PABP (CsPABPN1). CsPABPN1 has a domain architecture of nuclear PABPs (PABPNs) with a single RNA recognition motif (RRM) flanked by an acidic N-terminus and a GRPF-rich C-terminus. The RRM domain of CsPABPN1 displays virtually the same three-dimensional structure and poly(A)-binding mode of animal PABPNs. However, while the CsPABPN1 RRM domain specifically binds poly(A), the full-length protein also binds poly(U). CsPABPN1 localizes to the nucleus of plant cells and undergoes a dimer–monomer transition upon poly(A) interaction. We show that poly(A) binding by CsPABPN1 begins with the recognition of the RNA-binding sites RNP1 and RNP2, followed by interactions with residues of the β2 strands, which stabilize the dimer, thus leading to dimer dissociation. Like human PABPN1, CsPABPN1 also seems to form filaments in the presence of poly(A). Based on these data, we propose a structural model in which contiguous CsPABPN1 RRM monomers wrap around the RNA molecule creating a superhelical structure that could not only shield the poly(A) tail but also serve as a scaffold for the assembly of additional mRNA processing factors.
Journal of Molecular Biology – Elsevier
Published: Jul 31, 2015
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