The RNA-binding protein TbDRBD3 regulates the stability of a specific subset of mRNAs in trypanosomes

Nucleic Acids Res. 2008 Aug;36(14):4573-86. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkn406. Epub 2008 Jul 8.


In trypanosomes, the apparent lack of regulation of RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription initiation poses a challenge to understand how these eukaryotes adjust gene expression to adapt to the contrasting environments they find during their life cycles. Evidence so far indicates that mRNA turnover and translation are the major control points in which regulation is exerted in trypanosomes. However, very little is known about which proteins are involved, and how do they regulate the abundance and translation of different mRNAs in different life stages. In this work, an RNA-binding protein, TbDRBD3, has been identified by affinity chromatography, and its function addressed using RNA interference, microarray analysis and immunoprecipitation of mRNA-protein complexes. The results obtained indicate that TbDRBD3 binds to a subset of developmentally regulated mRNAs encoding membrane proteins, and that this association promotes the stabilization of the target transcripts. These observations raise the possibility that TbDRBD3-mRNA complexes act as a post-transcriptional operon, and provide a framework to interpret how trypanosomes regulate gene expression in the absence of transcriptional control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / chemistry
  • 3' Untranslated Regions / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Phosphoglycerate Kinase / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / analysis
  • Protozoan Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protozoan Proteins / physiology*
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Helminth / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / classification
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / enzymology
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / genetics*
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / growth & development


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • RNA, Helminth
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Phosphoglycerate Kinase