VICKZ proteins mediate cell migration via their RNA binding activity

Froma Oberman, Kinneret Rand, Yael Maizels, Ariel M. Rubinstein*, Joel K. Yisraeli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The highly conserved, RNA binding VICKZ proteins help regulate RNA localization, stability, and translation in many eukaryotes. These proteins are also required for cell migration in embryos and cultured cells. In adults, many tumors overexpress VICKZ homologs, and it has been hypothesized that the proteins can mediate cell motility and invasion. How these proteins facilitate cell movement and, in particular, whether their ability to bind RNA plays a role in their function remain unclear. Using HPLC and mass spectrometry to identify a region of Xenopus Vg1 RBP (xVICKZ3) that binds the vegetal localization element of Vg1 RNA, we generated a deletion construct that functions in a dominant-negative manner. The construct associates with full-length xVICKZ3 and severely reduces binding to target RNAs. This dominant-negative construct phenocopies the effect of down-regulating xVICKZ3 in Xenopus embryos. A corresponding deletion in the human homolog hVICKZ1 similarly functions in a dominant-negative fashion to reduce the ability of full-length hVICKZ protein to bind RNA. Expression of the dominant-negative construct in human carcinoma cells inhibits cell movement by several criteria. We conclude that the ability of VICKZ proteins to mediate cell migration, in vitro and in vivo, requires their RNA binding activity. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1558-1569
Number of pages12
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Biacore
  • Cell motility
  • Igf2 mRNA binding proteins
  • RNA localization
  • Vg1 RBP
  • ZBP1


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