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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Human RNase 7: a new cationic ribonuclease of the RNase A superfamily.

Here we report on the expression and function of RNase 7, one of the final RNase A superfamily ribonucleases identified in the human genome sequence. The human RNase 7 gene is expressed in various somatic tissues including the liver, kidney, skeletal muscle and heart. Recombinant RNase 7 is ribonucleolytically active against yeast tRNA, as expected from the presence of eight conserved cysteines and the catalytic histidine-lysine- histidine triad which are signature motifs of this superfamily. The protein is atypically cationic with an isoelectric point (pI) of 10. 5. Expression of recombinant RNase 7 in Escherichia coli completely inhibits the growth of the host bacteria, similar to what has been observed for the cationic RNase, eosinophil cationic protein ( ECP/RNase 3, pI 11.4). An in vitro assay demonstrates dose-dependent cytotoxicity of RNase 7 against bacteria E.coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. While RNase 7 and ECP/RNase 3 are both cationic and share this particular aspect of functional similarity, their protein sequence identity is only 40%. Of particular interest, ECP/RNase 3's cationicity is based on an (over)abundance of arginine residues, whereas RNase 7 includes an excess of lysine. This difference, in conjunction with the independent origins and different expression patterns, suggests that RNase 7 and ECP/RNase 3 may have been recruited to target different pathogens in vivo, if their physiological functions are indeed host defenses.[1]


  1. Human RNase 7: a new cationic ribonuclease of the RNase A superfamily. Zhang, J., Dyer, K.D., Rosenberg, H.F. Nucleic Acids Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
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