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      Exploring the suitability of RanBP2-type Zinc Fingers for RNA-binding protein design

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          Abstract

          Transcriptomes consist of several classes of RNA that have wide-ranging but often poorly described functions and the deregulation of which leads to numerous diseases. Engineering of functionalized RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) could therefore have many applications. Our previous studies suggested that the RanBP2-type Zinc Finger (ZF) domain is a suitable scaffold to investigate the design of single-stranded RBPs. In the present work, we have analyzed the natural sequence specificity of various members of the RanBP2-type ZF family and characterized the interaction with their target RNA. Surprisingly, our data showed that natural RanBP2-type ZFs with different RNA-binding residues exhibit a similar sequence specificity and therefore no simple recognition code can be established. Despite this finding, different discriminative abilities were observed within the family. In addition, in order to target a long RNA sequence and therefore gain in specificity, we generated a 6-ZF array by combining ZFs from the RanBP2-type family but also from different families, in an effort to achieve a wider target sequence repertoire. We showed that this chimeric protein recognizes its target sequence (20 nucleotides), both in vitro and in living cells. Altogether, our results indicate that the use of ZFs in RBP design remains attractive even though engineering of specificity changes is challenging.

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          Most cited references34

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          Long noncoding RNAs with snoRNA ends.

          We describe the discovery of sno-lncRNAs, a class of nuclear-enriched intron-derived long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) that are processed on both ends by the snoRNA machinery. During exonucleolytic trimming, the sequences between the snoRNAs are not degraded, leading to the accumulation of lncRNAs flanked by snoRNA sequences but lacking 5' caps and 3' poly(A) tails. Such RNAs are widely expressed in cells and tissues and can be produced by either box C/D or box H/ACA snoRNAs. Importantly, the genomic region encoding one abundant class of sno-lncRNAs (15q11-q13) is specifically deleted in Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). The PWS region sno-lncRNAs do not colocalize with nucleoli or Cajal bodies, but rather accumulate near their sites of synthesis. These sno-lncRNAs associate strongly with Fox family splicing regulators and alter patterns of splicing. These results thus implicate a previously unannotated class of lncRNAs in the molecular pathogenesis of PWS. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Dynamic epigenetic regulation of the microRNA-200 family mediates epithelial and mesenchymal transitions in human tumorigenesis

            Epithelial-mesenchymal (EMT) and mesenchymal-epithelial (MET) transitions occur in the development of human tumorigenesis and are part of the natural history of the process to adapt to the changing microenvironment. In this setting, the miR-200 family is recognized as a master regulator of the epithelial phenotype by targeting ZEB1 and ZEB2, two important transcriptional repressors of the cell adherence (E-cadherin) and polarity (CRB3 and LGL2) genes. Recently, the putative DNA methylation associated inactivation of various miR-200 members has been described in cancer. Herein, we show that the miR-200ba429 and miR-200c141 transcripts undergo a dynamic epigenetic regulation linked to EMT or MET phenotypes in tumor progression. The 5′-CpG islands of both miR-200 loci were found unmethylated and coupled to the expression of the corresponding miRNAs in human cancer cell lines with epithelial features, such as low levels of ZEB1/ZEB2 and high expression of E-cadherin, CRB3 and LGL2, while CpG island hypermethylation-associated silencing was observed in transformed cells with mesenchymal characteristics. The recovery of miR-200ba429 and miR-200c141 expression by stable transfection in the hypermethylated cells restored the epithelial markers and inhibited migration in cell culture and tumoral growth and metastasis formation in nude mice. We also discovered, using both cell culture and animal models, that the miR-200 epigenetic silencing is not an static and fixed process but it can be shifted to hypermethylated or unmethylated 5′-CpG island status corresponding to the EMT and MET phenotypes, respectively. In fact, careful laser microdissection in human primary colorectal tumorigenesis unveiled that in normal colon mucosa crypts (epithelia) and stroma (mesenchyma) already are unmethylated and methylated at these loci, respectively; and that the colorectal tumors undergo selective miR-200 hypermethylation of their epithelial component. These findings indicate that the epigenetic silencing plasticity of the miR-200 family contributes to the evolving and adapting phenotypes of human tumors.
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              Selection patterns on restorer-like genes reveal a conflict between nuclear and mitochondrial genomes throughout angiosperm evolution.

              Eukaryotic cells have harbored mitochondria for at least 1.5 billion years in an apparently mutually beneficial symbiosis. Studies on the agronomically important crop trait cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) have suggested the semblance of a host-parasite relationship between the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, but molecular evidence for this is lacking. Key players in CMS systems are the fertility restorer (Rf) genes required for the development of a functional male gametophyte in plants carrying a mitochondrial CMS gene. In the majority of cases, Rf genes encode pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins. We show that most angiosperms for which extensive genomic sequence data exist contain multiple PPR genes related to Rf genes. These Rf-like genes show a number of characteristic features compared with other PPR genes, including chromosomal clustering and unique patterns of evolution, notably high rates of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions, suggesting diversifying selection. The highest probabilities of diversifying selection were seen for amino acid residues 1, 3, and 6 within the PPR motif. PPR proteins are involved in RNA processing, and mapping the selection data to a predicted consensus structure of an array of PPR motifs suggests that these residues are likely to form base-specific contacts to the RNA ligand. We suggest that the selection patterns on Rf-like genes reveal a molecular "arms-race" between the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes that has persisted throughout most of the evolutionary history of angiosperms.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                mgalleni@uliege.be
                mvandevenne@uliege.be
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                21 February 2019
                21 February 2019
                2019
                : 9
                : 2484
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0805 7253, GRID grid.4861.b, InBioS-Centre d’Ingénierie des Protéines (CIP), , Université de Liège, ; Liège, 4000 Belgium
                [2 ]Children’s Cancer Institute Lowy Cancer Research, Kensington, 2033 Australia
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0805 7253, GRID grid.4861.b, Laboratoire de Chimie Biologique Structurale (CBS), Département de Chimie, Université de Liège, ; Liège, 4000 Belgium
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9684, GRID grid.27860.3b, Genome Center and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, , University of California, ; Davis, CA 95616 USA
                [5 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 834X, GRID grid.1013.3, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, , University of Sydney, ; Sydney, N.S.W 2006 Australia
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8962-3105
                http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7508-8033
                Article
                38655
                10.1038/s41598-019-38655-y
                6384913
                30792407
                b43c540a-bd76-4c6b-9b06-de92894ad139
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 18 January 2018
                : 30 November 2018
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