Article

Structural insights into RNA recognition by the alternative-splicing regulator muscleblind-like MBNL1.

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 439 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA.
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 11.63). 12/2008; 15(12):1343-51. DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1519
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Muscleblind-like (MBNL) proteins, regulators of developmentally programmed alternative splicing, harbor tandem CCCH zinc-finger (ZnF) domains that target pre-mRNAs containing YGCU(U/G)Y sequence elements (where Y is a pyrimidine). In myotonic dystrophy, reduced levels of MBNL proteins lead to aberrant alternative splicing of a subset of pre-mRNAs. The crystal structure of MBNL1 ZnF3/4 bound to r(CGCUGU) establishes that both ZnF3 and ZnF4 target GC steps, with site-specific recognition mediated by a network of hydrogen bonds formed primarily with main chain groups of the protein. The relative alignment of ZnF3 and ZnF4 domains is dictated by the topology of the interdomain linker, with a resulting antiparallel orientation of bound GC elements, supportive of a chain-reversal loop trajectory for MBNL1-bound pre-mRNA targets. We anticipate that MBNL1-mediated targeting of looped RNA segments proximal to splice-site junctions could contribute to pre-mRNA alternative-splicing regulation.

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