Nucleolin, the most abundant nucleolar phosphoprotein of eukaryotic cells, is known primarily for its role in ribosome biogenesis and cell proliferation. It is, however, a multifunctional protein that, depending on the cellular context, can drive either cell proliferation or apoptosis. Our laboratory recently demonstrated that nucleolin can function as a repressor of c-MYC transcription by binding to and stabilizing the formation of a G-quadruplex structure in a region of the c-MYC promoter responsible for controlling 85-90% of c-MYC's transcriptional activity. In this study, we investigate the structural elements of nucleolin that are required for c-MYC repression. The effect of nucleolin deletion mutants on the formation and stability of the c-MYC G-quadruplex, as well as c-MYC transcriptional activity, was assessed by circular dichroism spectropolarimetry, thermal stability, and in vitro transcription. Here we report that nucleolin's RNA binding domains 3 and 4, as well as the arginine-glycine-glycine (RGG) domain, are required to repress c-MYC transcription.
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