RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play a vital role in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression during neuronal differentiation and synaptic plasticity. One such RBP family, the neuronal Hu protein family, serves as an early marker of neuronal differentiation and targets several mRNAs containing adenine/uridine-rich elements. Recently, we reported that one of the neuronal Hu proteins, HuD stimulates cap-dependent translation through interactions with eIF4A and poly (A) tail. Nevertheless, little is known with respect to how neuronal Hu proteins contribute to the local translation of target mRNAs in neuronal differentiation. Here, we found that neuronal Hu proteins, but not the ubiquitously expressed HuR protein, directly interact with the light chain of microtubule-associated proteins MAP1B (LC1). We also show that HuD simultaneously binds both RNA and LC1 in vitro and that it tightly associates with microtubules in cells in an LC1-dependent manner, raising the possibility that HuD recruits target mRNAs to microtubules. These results uncover the neuronal binding partners for neuron-specific Hu proteins and suggest the involvement of Hu proteins in microtubule-mediated regulation of mRNA expression within neuronal processes.
- Hu proteins
- Microtubule-associated protein
- Neuronal differentiation
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