Nucleic acid-binding specificity of human FUS protein

Xueyin Wang, Jacob C. Schwartz, Thomas R. Cech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


FUS, a nuclear RNA-binding protein, plays multiple roles in RNA processing. Five specific FUS-binding RNA sequence/structure motifs have been proposed, but their affinities for FUS have not been directly compared. Here we find that human FUS binds all these sequences with Kdapp values spanning a 10-fold range. Furthermore, some RNAs that do not contain any of these motifs bind FUS with similar affinity. FUS binds RNA in a length-dependent manner, consistent with a substantial non-specific component to binding. Finally, investigation of FUS binding to different nucleic acids shows that it binds single-stranded DNA with three-fold lower affinity than ssRNA of the same length and sequence, while binding to double-stranded nucleic acids is weaker. We conclude that FUS has quite general nucleic acid-binding activity, with the various proposed RNA motifs being neither necessary for FUS binding nor sufficient to explain its diverse binding partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7535-7543
Number of pages9
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jun 19 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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