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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 395816, 9 pages
Research Article

Unravelling the RNA-Binding Properties of SAFB Proteins in Breast Cancer Cells

1Institute of Cellular Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK
2Institute of Genetic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, Central Parkway, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3BZ, UK
3Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana, Traska Cesta 25, 51-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Received 29 January 2015; Accepted 15 April 2015

Academic Editor: Claudia Ghigna

Copyright © 2015 Elaine Hong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Scaffold attachment factor B1 (SAFB1) and SAFB2 proteins are oestrogen (ER) corepressors that bind to and modulate ER activity through chromatin remodelling or interaction with the basal transcription machinery. SAFB proteins also have an internal RNA-recognition motif but little is known about the RNA-binding properties of SAFB1 or SAFB2. We utilised crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (iCLIP) coupled with high-throughput sequencing to enable a transcriptome-wide mapping of SAFB1 protein-RNA interactions in breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Analysis of crosslinking frequency mapped to transcript regions revealed that SAFB1 binds to coding and noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). The highest proportion of SAFB1 crosslink sites mapped to ncRNAs, followed by intergenic regions, open reading frames (ORFs), introns, and 3′ or 5′ untranslated regions (UTR). Furthermore, we reveal that SAFB1 binds directly to RNA and its binding is particularly enriched at purine-rich sequences not dissimilar to the RNA-binding motifs for SR proteins. Using RNAi, we also show, for the first time, that single depletion of either SAFB1 or SAFB2 leads to an increase in expression of the other SAFB protein in both MCF-7 and MDA-MD231 breast cancer cells.