The Journal of biological chemistry

RNA-binding motif protein 15 binds to the RNA transport element RTE and provides a direct link to the NXF1 export pathway.

PMID 17001072


Retroviruses/retroelements provide tools enabling the identification and dissection of basic steps for post-transcriptional regulation of cellular mRNAs. The RNA transport element (RTE) identified in mouse retrotransposons is functionally equivalent to constitutive transport element of Type D retroviruses, yet does not bind directly to the mRNA export receptor NXF1. Here, we report that the RNA-binding motif protein 15 (RBM15) recognizes RTE directly and specifically in vitro and stimulates export and expression of RTE-containing reporter mRNAs in vivo. Tethering of RBM15 to a reporter mRNA showed that RBM15 acts by promoting mRNA export from the nucleus. We also found that RBM15 binds to NXF1 and the two proteins cooperate in stimulating RTE-mediated mRNA export and expression. Thus, RBM15 is a novel mRNA export factor and is part of the NXF1 pathway. We propose that RTE evolved as a high affinity RBM15 ligand to provide a splicing-independent link to NXF1, thereby ensuring efficient nuclear export and expression of retrotransposon transcripts.