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The RBS1 domain of Gemin5 is intrinsically unstructured and interacts with RNA through conserved Arg and aromatic residues
RNA Biology  (IF4.652),  Pub Date : 2021-08-23, DOI: 10.1080/15476286.2021.1962666


Gemin5 is a multifaceted RNA-binding protein that comprises distinct structural domains, including a WD40 and TPR-like for which the X-ray structure is known. In addition, the protein contains a non-canonical RNA-binding domain (RBS1) towards the C-terminus. To understand the RNA binding features of the RBS1 domain, we have characterized its structural characteristics by solution NMR linked to RNA-binding activity. Here we show that a short version of the RBS1 domain that retains the ability to interact with RNA is predominantly unfolded even in the presence of RNA. Furthermore, an exhaustive mutational analysis indicates the presence of an evolutionarily conserved motif enriched in R, S, W, and H residues, necessary to promote RNA-binding via π-π interactions. The combined results of NMR and RNA-binding on wild-type and mutant proteins highlight the importance of aromatic and arginine residues for RNA recognition by RBS1, revealing that the net charge and the π-amino acid density of this region of Gemin5 are key factors for RNA recognition.