Y-Box proteins comprise a large family of multifunctional proteins with a wide spectrum of activities in both transcription and translational regulation of gene expression. Earlier, we have reported on the involvement of chk-YB-2 in transcriptional regulation of Rous sarcoma virus long terminal repeats and the involvement of chk-YB-1b in transcriptional regulation of alpha1(I) collagen genes. Here, we have investigated the potential role of chk-YB-2 and chk-YB-1b in RNA metabolism. We report that chk-YB-2 and chk-YB-1b are localized predominantly in the cytoplasm and that they both can bind single-stranded RNA in a sequence-specific and reversible manner. Well-conserved cold-shock domain, N-terminal proline-rich domain and the alternating clusters of acidic and basic amino acids located in the C-terminal ends of these two proteins were all found to be necessary for their RNA-binding ability. Further, we demonstrate that these two proteins inhibit translation in vitro and that binding to RNA is required for this inhibition. The significance of these results is discussed.

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Author notes

1

Present address: Department of Pathology, A614, Scaife Hall, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A.