Compound Heterozygosity for Y Box Proteins Causes Sterility Due to Loss of Translational Repression.

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PLoS Genet 2015 Dec 8; 11(12):e1005690






The Y-box proteins YBX2 and YBX3 bind RNA and DNA and are required for metazoan development and fertility. However, possible functional redundancy between YBX2 and YBX3 has prevented elucidation of their molecular function as RNA masking proteins and identification of their target RNAs. To investigate possible functional redundancy between YBX2 and YBX3, we attempted to construct Ybx2-/-;Ybx3-/- double mutants using a previously reported Ybx2-/- model and a newly generated global Ybx3-/- model. Loss of YBX3 resulted in reduced male fertility and defects in spermatid differentiation. However, homozygous double mutants could not be generated as haploinsufficiency of both Ybx2 and Ybx3 caused sterility characterized by extensive defects in spermatid differentiation. RNA sequence analysis of mRNP and polysome occupancy in single and compound Ybx2/3 heterozygotes revealed loss of translational repression almost exclusively in the compound Ybx2/3 heterozygotes. RNAseq analysis also demonstrated that Y-box protein dose-dependent loss of translational regulation was inversely correlated with the presence of a Y box recognition target sequence, suggesting that Y box proteins bind RNA hierarchically to modulate translation in a range of targets. PLoS Genet 2015 Dec 8; 11(12):e1005690