Widespread generation of alternative UTRs contributes to sex-specific RNA binding by UNR

Marija Mihailovich, Laurence Wurth, Federico Zambelli, Irina Abaza, Cristina Militti, Francesco M. Mancuso, Guglielmo Roma, Giulio Pavesi, Fátima Gebauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Upstream of N-ras (UNR) is a conserved RNA-binding protein that regulates mRNA translation and stability by binding to sites generally located in untranslated regions (UTRs). In Drosophila, sex-specific binding of UNR to msl2 mRNA and the noncoding RNA roX is believed to play key roles in the control of X-chromosome dosage compensation in both sexes. To investigate broader sex-specific functions of UNR, we have identified its RNA targets in adult male and female flies by high-throughput RNA binding and transcriptome analysis. Here we show that UNR binds to a large set of protein-coding transcripts and to a smaller set of noncoding RNAs in a sex-specific fashion. The analyses also reveal a strong correlation between sex-specific binding of UNR and sex-specific differential expression of UTRs in target genes. Validation experiments indicate that UNR indeed recognizes sex-specifically processed transcripts. These results suggest that UNR exploits the transcript diversity generated by alternative processing and alternative promoter usage to bind and regulate target genes in a sex-specific manner. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012



  • Alternative processing
  • Sex-specific binding
  • UNR target
  • UTR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Mihailovich, M., Wurth, L., Zambelli, F., Abaza, I., Militti, C., Mancuso, F. M., Roma, G., Pavesi, G., & Gebauer, F. (2012). Widespread generation of alternative UTRs contributes to sex-specific RNA binding by UNR. RNA, 18(1), 53-64. https://doi.org/10.1261/rna.029603.111