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Structural basis of dimerization and nucleic acid binding of human DBHS proteins NONO and PSPC1

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-535
Number of pages14
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number1
Early online date14 Dec 2021
E-pub ahead of print14 Dec 2021
Published11 Jan 2022

King's Authors


Abstract The Drosophila behaviour/human splicing (DBHS) proteins are a family of RNA/DNA binding cofactors liable for a range of cellular processes. DBHS proteins include the non-POU domain-containing octamer-binding protein (NONO) and paraspeckle protein component 1 (PSPC1), proteins capable of forming combinatorial dimers. Here, we describe the crystal structures of the human NONO and PSPC1 homodimers, representing uncharacterized DBHS dimerization states. The structures reveal a set of conserved contacts and structural plasticity within the dimerization interface that provide a rationale for dimer selectivity between DBHS paralogues. In addition, solution X-ray scattering and accompanying biochemical experiments describe a mechanism of cooperative RNA recognition by the NONO homodimer. Nucleic acid binding is reliant on RRM1, and appears to be affected by the orientation of RRM1, influenced by a newly identified ‘β-clasp’ structure. Our structures shed light on the molecular determinants for DBHS homo- and heterodimerization and provide a basis for understanding how DBHS proteins cooperatively recognize a broad spectrum of RNA targets.

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