RBM is an RNA-binding protein encoded on the Y chromosome in mammals and is expressed only in the nuclei of male germ cells. Genetic evidence from infertile men implicates it in spermatogenesis, but its function is unknown. Of a number of potential partners for RBM identified by a yeast two-hybrid screen with testis cDNA, the most frequent isolates encoded a novel RNA-binding protein, termed T-STAR, that is closely related to SAM68, an Src-associated protein of unknown function. The mouse homologue was also cloned and designated etoile. It mapped to chromosome 15, while T-STAR mapped to the syntenic region on human chromosome 8. T-STAR/etoile is expressed primarily in the testis; in rat germ cells, the expression of both T-STAR/etoile and SAM68 is regulated during meiosis. Transfection of T-STAR/etoile fused with green fluorescent protein into HeLa cells caused an accumulation of protein in a novel compartment of the nucleus, adjacent to the nucleolus but distinct from the peri-nucleolar compartment. RBM and other hnRNP G family members are candidate downstream targets for regulation by T-STAR/ETOILE and SAM68.
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