This protocol describes the expression, purification and crystallization of a ternary protein-protein-RNA complex, consisting of the two RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) of Sex-lethal (Sxl), the first of five cold shock domains of Upstream-of-N-Ras (Unr), and an 18-nucleotide region of msl2 mRNA, called the F fragment (Hennig et al., 2014).The biological role of the complex is the translational repression of msl2 mRNA, preventing the formation of the dosage compensation complex and subsequent 2-fold hypertranscription of X-linked genes in Drosophila females. As orthologous RRM-containing proteins and Unr exist in humans, similar complexes potentially also form during translational repression in vertebrates. The protocol describes the in vitro assembly of the complex and its purification followed by crystallization for X-ray crystallography structure determination. Part of the protocol has been published elsewhere (Hennig et al., 2013 and 2014), but some parts are described here in more detail.
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