Active Disruption of an RNA-Protein Interaction by a DExH/D RNA Helicase

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Science  05 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5501, pp. 121-125
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5501.121

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All aspects of cellular RNA metabolism and the replication of many viruses require DExH/D proteins that manipulate RNA in a manner that requires nucleoside triphosphates. Although DExH/D proteins have been shown to unwind purified RNA duplexes, most RNA molecules in the cellular environment are complexed with proteins. It has therefore been speculated that DExH/D proteins may also affect RNA-protein interactions. We demonstrate that the DExH protein NPH-II from vaccinia virus can displace the protein U1A from RNA in an active adenosine triphosphate–dependent fashion. NPH-II increases the rate of U1A dissociation by more than three orders of magnitude while retaining helicase processivity. This indicates that DExH/D proteins can effectively catalyze protein displacement from RNA and thereby participate in the structural reorganization of ribonucleoprotein assemblies.

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