REF, an evolutionarily conserved family of hnRNP-like proteins, interacts with TAP/Mex67p and participates in mRNA nuclear export
Vertebrate TAP and its yeast ortholog Mex67p are involved in the export of messenger RNAs from the nucleus. TAP has also been implicated in the export of simian type D viral RNAs bearing the constitutive transport element (CTE). Although TAP directly interacts with CTE-bearing RNAs, the mode of interaction of TAP/Mex67p with cellular mRNAs is different from that with the CTE RNA and is likely to be mediated by protein–protein interactions. Here we show that Mex67p directly interacts with Yra1p, an essential yeast hnRNP-like protein. This interaction is evolutionarily conserved as Yra1p also interacts with TAP. Conditional expression in yeast cells implicates Yra1p in the export of cellular mRNAs. Database searches revealed that Yra1p belongs to an evolutionarily conserved family of hnRNP-like proteins having more than one member in Mus musculus, Xenopus laevis, Caenorhabditis elegans, and Schizosaccharomyces pombe and at least one member in several species including plants. The murine members of the family directly interact with TAP. Because members of this protein family are characterized by the presence of one RNP-motif RNA-binding domain and exhibit RNA-binding activity, we called these proteins REF-bps for RNA and export factor binding proteins. Thus, Yra1p and members of the REF family of hnRNP-like proteins may facilitate the interaction of TAP/Mex67p with cellular mRNAs.(Received January 10 2000)
(Revised January 18 2000)
(Accepted January 25 2000)
Key Words: Aly; Mex67p; hnRNP; nuclear export; TAP; Yra1p.
c1 Reprint requests to: Elisa Izaurralde, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, D-69012 Heidelberg, Germany; e-mail: email@example.com.