Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), the protein responsible for the fragile X syndrome, is an RNA-binding protein involved in localization and translation of neuronal mRNAs. One of the RNAs known to interact with FMRP is the dendritic non-translatable brain cytoplasmic RNA 1 BC1 RNA that works as an adaptor molecule linking FMRP and some of its regulated mRNAs. Here, we showed that the N terminus of FMRP binds strongly and specifically to BC1 and to its potential human analog BC200. This region does not contain a motif known to specifically recognize RNA and thus constitutes a new RNA-binding motif. We further demonstrated that FMRP recognition involves the 5' stem loop of BC1 and that this is the region that exhibits complementarity to FMRP target mRNAs, raising the possibility that FMRP plays a direct role in BC1/mRNA annealing.
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