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SUMO-Modification of the La Protein Facilitates Binding to mRNA In Vitro and in Cells.

Kota V, Sommer G, Durette C, Thibault P, van Niekerk EA, Twiss JL, Heise T

Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America.

The RNA-binding protein La is involved in several aspects of RNA metabolism including the translational regulation of mRNAs and processing of pre-tRNAs. Besides its well-described phosphorylation by Casein kinase 2, the La protein is also posttranslationally modified by the Small Ubiquitin-like MOdifier (SUMO), but the functional outcome of this modification has not been defined. The objective of this study was to test whether sumoylation changes the RNA-binding activity of La. Therefore, we established an in vitro sumoylation assay for recombinant human La and analyzed its RNA-binding activity by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. We identified two novel SUMO-acceptor sites within the La protein located between the RNA recognition motif 1 and 2 and we demonstrate for the first time that sumoylation facilitates the RNA-binding of La to small RNA oligonucleotides representing the oligopyrimidine tract (TOP) elements from the 5' untranslated regions (UTR) of mRNAs encoding ribosomal protein L22 and L37 and to a longer RNA element from the 5' UTR of cyclin D1 (CCND1) mRNA in vitro. Furthermore, we show by RNA immunoprecipitation experiments that a La mutant deficient in sumoylation has impaired RNA-binding activity in cells. These data suggest that modulating the RNA-binding activity of La by sumoylation has important consequences on its functionality.

PLoS ONE 2016;11(5):e0156365.

Pubmed ID: 27224031

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