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XB-ART-38015
J Cell Biochem February 15, 2008; 103 (3): 1013-36.

Cellular nucleic acid binding protein binds G-rich single-stranded nucleic acids and may function as a nucleic acid chaperone.

Armas P , Nasif S , Calcaterra NB .


Abstract
Cellular nucleic acid binding protein (CNBP) is a small single-stranded nucleic acid binding protein made of seven Zn knuckles and an Arg-Gly rich box. CNBP is strikingly conserved among vertebrates and was reported to play broad-spectrum functions in eukaryotic cells biology. Neither its biological function nor its mechanisms of action were elucidated yet. The main goal of this work was to gain further insights into the CNBP biochemical and molecular features. We studied Bufo arenarum CNBP (bCNBP) binding to single-stranded nucleic acid probes representing the main reported CNBP putative targets. We report that, although bCNBP is able to bind RNA and single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) probes in vitro, it binds RNA as a preformed dimer whereas both monomer and dimer are able to bind to ssDNA. A systematic analysis of variant probes shows that the preferred bCNBP targets contain unpaired guanosine-rich stretches. These data expand the knowledge about CNBP binding stoichiometry and begins to dissect the main features of CNBP nucleic acid targets. Besides, we show that bCNBP presents a highly disordered predicted structure and promotes the annealing and melting of nucleic acids in vitro. These features are typical of proteins that function as nucleic acid chaperones. Based on these data, we propose that CNBP may function as a nucleic acid chaperone through binding, remodeling, and stabilizing nucleic acids secondary structures. This novel CNBP biochemical activity broadens the field of study about its biological function and may be the basis to understand the diverse ways in which CNBP controls gene expression.

PubMed ID: 17661353
Article link: J Cell Biochem


Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: cnbp