Bicoid-interacting protein 3 (Bin3) is a conserved RNA methyltransferase found in eukaryotes ranging from fission yeast to humans. It was originally discovered as a Bicoid (Bcd)-interacting protein in Drosophila, where it is required for anterior-posterior and dorso-ventral axis determination in the early embryo. The mammalian ortholog of Bin3 (BCDIN3), also known as methyl phosphate capping enzyme (MePCE), plays a key role in repressing transcription. In transcription, MePCE binds the non-coding 7SK RNA, which forms a scaffold for an RNA-protein complex that inhibits positive-acting transcription elongation factor b, an RNA polymerase II elongation factor. MePCE uses S-adenosyl methionine to transfer a methyl group onto the γ-phosphate of the 5' guanosine of 7SK RNA generating an unusual cap structure that protects 7SK RNA from degradation. Bin3/MePCE also has a role in translation regulation. Initial studies in Drosophila indicate that Bin3 targets 7SK RNA and stabilizes a distinct RNA-protein complex that assembles on the 3'-untranslated region of caudal mRNAs to prevent translation initiation. Much remains to be learned about Bin3/MeCPE function, including how it recognizes 7SK RNA, what other RNA substrates it might target, and how widespread a role it plays in gene regulation and embryonic development.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.