Nucleo-Cytoplasmic Exchange

ID #2001

I have a question about the shuttle proteins that bind to mRNA so that it can be exported into the cytoplasm. Why do the shuttle proteins bind to the mRNA in the first place? Is there a sequence on the mRNA that signals the shuttle protein to bind to it?

They are able to bind to the mRNA because they recognize the 3-dimensional shape of the molecule. The "landscape" of an mRNA is different than of a different protein, or a sugar molecule, etc., so this is what they are specifically designed for. Some of these proteins bind to the sequence of adenines we call the poly-A tail, some bind to the 5' cap structure, and others are more generic in what they bind in terms of sequence, but will still only bind to RNAs when they encounter them.

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