The Y-box proteins are a family of highly conserved nucleic acid binding proteins which are conserved from bacteria to human. In this report we have identified a new member of this family from Drosophila melanogaster. Degenerate-PCR was used to identify a conserved region within the highly conserved cold-shock domain (CSD) of Y-box proteins. Subsequently, the cDNA for this gene was sequenced, and the identified open reading frame was named ypsilon schachtel (yps). The expression pattern of yps indicates that this gene is expressed throughout development with the highest level of expression found in adult flies. In situ hybridization shows that the yps mRNA is maternally loaded into the egg cytoplasm. In addition, there appears to be expression of yps mRNA in mesodermal tissue during embryogenesis. YPS, while containing a conserved CSD, is novel in that it completely lacks the alternating acidic and basic regions found in the C-terminus of the other vertebrate eukaryotic Y-box proteins. The CSD of yps was purified and gel-shift analysis showed that this domain can interact with RNA. We predict that YPS would be an RNA-binding protein due to these results and the motifs which have been identified within the amino acid sequence.
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