The distinct RNA-interaction modes of a small ZnF domain underlay TUT4(7) diverse action in miRNA regulation

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TUT4 and the closely related TUT7 are non-templated poly(U) polymerases required at different stages of development, and their mis-regulation or mutation has been linked to important cancer pathologies. While TUT4(7) interaction with its pre-miRNA targets has been characterized in detail, the molecular bases of the broader target recognition process are unclear. Here, we examine RNA binding by the ZnF domains of the protein. We show that TUT4(7) ZnF2 contains two distinct RNA binding surfaces that are used in the interaction with different RNA nucleobases in different targets, i.e that this small domain encodes diversity in TUT4(7) selectivity and molecular function. Interestingly and unlike other well-characterized CCHC ZnFs, ZnF2 is not physically coupled to the flanking ZnF3 and acts independently in miRNA recognition, while the remaining CCHC ZnF of TUT4(7), ZnF1, has lost its intrinsic RNA binding capability. Together, our data suggest that the ZnFs of TUT4(7) are independent units for RNA and, possibly, protein-protein interactions that underlay the protein's functional flexibility and are likely to play an important role in building its interaction network.

Journal details

Journal RNA Biology
Volume 18
Issue number Suppl.2
Pages 770-781
Available online
Publication date