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Structure, dynamics and roX2-lncRNA binding of tandem double-stranded RNA binding domains dsRBD1,2 of Drosophila helicase Maleless

By Pravin Kumar Ankush Jagtap, Marisa Müller, Pawel Masiewicz, Sören von Bülow, Nele Merret Hollmann, Bernd Simon, Andreas W Thomae, Peter B. Becker, Janosch Hennig

Posted 09 Nov 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/466763 (published DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkz125)

Maleless (MLE) is an evolutionary conserved member of the DExH family of helicases in Drosophila. Besides its function in RNA editing and presumably siRNA processing, MLE is best known for its role in remodelling non-coding roX RNA in the context of X chromosome dosage compensation in male flies. MLE and its human orthologue, DHX9 contain two tandem double-stranded RNA binding domains (dsRBDs) located at the N-terminal region. The two dsRBDs are essential for localization of MLE at the X-territory and it is presumed that this involves binding roX secondary structures. However, for dsRBD1 roX RNA binding has so far not been described. Here, we determined the solution NMR structure of dsRBD1 and dsRBD2 of MLE in tandem and investigated its role in double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) binding. Our NMR data show that both dsRBDs act as independent structural modules in solution and are canonical, non-sequence-specific dsRBDs featuring non-canonical KKxAK RNA binding motifs. NMR titrations combined with filter binding experiments document the contribution of dsRBD1 to dsRNA binding in vitro. Curiously, dsRBD1 mutants in which dsRNA binding in vitro is strongly compromised do not affect roX2 RNA binding and MLE localization in cells. These data suggest alternative functions for dsRBD1 in vivo.

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