Dimerization and Protein Binding Specificity of the U2AF Homology Motif of the Splicing Factor Puf60*

The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2008, 284, 1, 630-9 published on 29.10.2008
jbc, online article
PUF60 is an essential splicing factor functionally related and homologous to U2AF65. Its C-terminal domain belongs to the family of U2AF (U2 auxiliary factor) homology motifs (UHM), a subgroup of RNA recognition motifs that bind to tryptophan-containing linear peptide motifs (UHM ligand motifs, ULMs) in several nuclear proteins. Here, we show that the Puf60 UHM is mainly monomeric in physiological buffer, whereas its dimerization is induced upon the addition of SDS. The crystal structure of PUF60-UHM at 2.2 Å resolution, NMR data, and mutational analysis reveal that the dimer interface is mediated by electrostatic interactions involving a flexible loop. Using glutathione S-transferase pulldown experiments, isothermal titration calorimetry, and NMR titrations, we find that Puf60-UHM binds to ULM sequences in the splicing factors SF1, U2AF65, and SF3b155. Compared with U2AF65-UHM, Puf60-UHM has distinct binding preferences to ULMs in the N terminus of SF3b155. Our data suggest that the functional cooperativity between U2AF65 and Puf60 may involve simultaneous interactions of the two proteins with SF3b155.

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