Roger Helbig

Stockholm University, Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden

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Publications (3)9.51 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic cells have developed surveillance mechanisms to prevent the expression of aberrant transcripts. An early surveillance checkpoint acts at the transcription site and prevents the release of mRNAs that carry processing defects. The exosome subunit Rrp6 is required for this checkpoint in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but it is not known whether Rrp6 also plays a role in mRNA surveillance in higher eukaryotes. We have developed an in vivo system to study nuclear mRNA surveillance in Drosophila melanogaster. We have produced S2 cells that express a human beta-globin gene with mutated splice sites in intron 2 (mut beta-globin). The transcripts encoded by the mut beta-globin gene are normally spliced at intron 1 but retain intron 2. The levels of the mut beta-globin transcripts are much lower than those of wild type (wt) ss-globin mRNAs transcribed from the same promoter. We have compared the expression of the mut and wt beta-globin genes to investigate the mechanisms that down-regulate the production of defective mRNAs. Both wt and mut beta-globin transcripts are processed at the 3', but the mut beta-globin transcripts are less efficiently cleaved than the wt transcripts. Moreover, the mut beta-globin transcripts are less efficiently released from the transcription site, as shown by FISH, and this defect is restored by depletion of Rrp6 by RNAi. Furthermore, transcription of the mut beta-globin gene is significantly impaired as revealed by ChIP experiments that measure the association of the RNA polymerase II with the transcribed genes. We have also shown that the mut beta-globin gene shows reduced levels of H3K4me3. Our results show that there are at least two surveillance responses that operate cotranscriptionally in insect cells and probably in all metazoans. One response requires Rrp6 and results in the inefficient release of defective mRNAs from the transcription site. The other response acts at the transcription level and reduces the synthesis of the defective transcripts through a mechanism that involves histone modifications.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(7):e11540. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic cells have evolved quality control mechanisms to degrade aberrant mRNA molecules and prevent the synthesis of defective proteins that could be deleterious for the cell. The exosome, a protein complex with ribonuclease activity, is a key player in quality control. An early quality checkpoint takes place cotranscriptionally but little is known about the molecular mechanisms by which the exosome is recruited to the transcribed genes. Here we study the core exosome subunit Rrp4 in two insect model systems, Chironomus and Drosophila. We show that a significant fraction of Rrp4 is associated with the nascent pre-mRNPs and that a specific mRNA-binding protein, Hrp59/hnRNP M, interacts in vivo with multiple exosome subunits. Depletion of Hrp59 by RNA interference reduces the levels of Rrp4 at transcription sites, which suggests that Hrp59 is needed for the exosome to stably interact with nascent pre-mRNPs. Our results lead to a revised mechanistic model for cotranscriptional quality control in which the exosome is constantly recruited to newly synthesized RNAs through direct interactions with specific hnRNP proteins.
    Molecular biology of the cell 07/2009; 20(15):3459-70. · 5.98 Impact Factor
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