Identification of new high affinity targets for Roquin based on structural conservation

Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Dec 14;46(22):12109-12125. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky908.


Post-transcriptional gene regulation controls the amount of protein produced from a specific mRNA by altering both its decay and translation rates. Such regulation is primarily achieved by the interaction of trans-acting factors with cis-regulatory elements in the untranslated regions (UTRs) of mRNAs. These interactions are guided either by sequence- or structure-based recognition. Similar to sequence conservation, the evolutionary conservation of a UTR's structure thus reflects its functional importance. We used such structural conservation to identify previously unknown cis-regulatory elements. Using the RNA folding program Dynalign, we scanned all UTRs of humans and mice for conserved structures. Characterizing a subset of putative conserved structures revealed a binding site of the RNA-binding protein Roquin. Detailed functional characterization in vivo enabled us to redefine the binding preferences of Roquin and identify new target genes. Many of these new targets are unrelated to the established role of Roquin in inflammation and immune responses and thus highlight additional, unstudied cellular functions of this important repressor. Moreover, the expression of several Roquin targets is highly cell-type-specific. In consequence, these targets are difficult to detect using methods dependent on mRNA abundance, yet easily detectable with our unbiased strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Line
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Nucleotides / genetics
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA Folding*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / chemistry*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Nucleotides
  • RC3H1 protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Rc3h1 protein, mouse
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases