[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The THO complex is involved in transcription, genome stability, and messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) formation, but its precise molecular function remains enigmatic. Under heat shock conditions, THO mutants accumulate large protein-DNA complexes that alter the chromatin density of target genes (heavy chromatin), defining a specific biochemical facet of THO function and a powerful tool of analysis. Here, we show that heavy chromatin distribution is dictated by gene boundaries and that the gene promoter is necessary and sufficient to convey THO sensitivity in these conditions. Single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization measurements show that heavy chromatin formation correlates with an unusually high firing pace of the promoter with more than 20 transcription events per minute. Heavy chromatin formation closely follows the modulation of promoter firing and strongly correlates with polymerase occupancy genome wide. We propose that the THO complex is required for tuning the dynamic of gene-nuclear pore association and mRNP release to the same high pace of transcription initiation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pericentromeric heterochromatin formation is mediated by repressive histone H3 lysine 9 methylation (H3K9Me) and its recognition by HP1 proteins. Intriguingly, in many organisms, RNAi is coupled to this process through poorly understood mechanisms. In Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the H3-K9 methyltransferase Clr4 and the heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) ortholog Swi6 are critical for RNAi, whereas RNAi stimulates H3K9Me. In addition to the endoribonuclease Dcr1, RNAi in S. pombe requires two interacting protein complexes, the RITS complex, which contains an Argonaute subunit, and the RDRC complex, which contains an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase subunit. We previously identified Ers1 (essential for RNAi-dependent silencing) as an orphan protein that genetically acts in the RNAi pathway. Using recombinant proteins, we show here that Ers1 directly and specifically interacts with HP1/Swi6. Two-hybrid assays indicate that Ers1 also directly interacts with several RNAi factors. Consistent with these interactions, Ers1 associates in vivo with the RITS complex, the RDRC complex, and Dcr1, and it promotes interactions between these factors. Ers1, like Swi6, is also required for RNAi complexes to associate with pericentromeric noncoding RNAs. Overexpression of Ers1 results in a dominant-negative phenotype that can be specifically suppressed by increasing levels of the RDRC subunit Hrr1 or of Dcr1, further supporting a functional role for Ers1 in promoting the assembly of the RNAi machinery. Through the interactions described here, Ers1 may promote RNAi by tethering the corresponding enzyme complexes to HP1-coated chromatin, thereby placing them in proximity to the nascent noncoding RNA substrate.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2012; 109(28):11258-63. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Production of messenger ribonucleoprotein particles (mRNPs) is subjected to quality control (QC). In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the RNA exosome and its cofactors are part of the nuclear QC machinery that removes, or stalls, aberrant molecules, thereby ensuring that only correctly formed mRNPs are exported to the cytoplasm. The Ccr4-Not complex, which constitutes the major S. cerevisiae cytoplasmic deadenylase, has recently been implied in nuclear exosome-related processes. Consistent with a possible nuclear function of the complex, the deletion or mutation of Ccr4-Not factors also elicits transcription phenotypes. Here we use genetic depletion of the Mft1p protein of the THO transcription/mRNP packaging complex as a model system to link the Ccr4-Not complex to nuclear mRNP QC. We reveal strong genetic interactions between alleles of the Ccr4-Not complex with both the exosomal RRP6 and MFT1 genes. Moreover, Rrp6p-dependent in vivo QC phenotypes of Δmft1 cells can be rescued by codeletion of several Ccr4-Not components. We discuss how the Ccr4-Not complex may connect with the mRNP QC pathway.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Partitioning of chromosomes into euchromatic and heterochromatic domains requires mechanisms that specify boundaries. The S. pombe JmjC family protein Epe1 prevents the ectopic spread of heterochromatin and is itself concentrated at boundaries. Paradoxically, Epe1 is recruited to heterochromatin by HP1 silencing factors that are distributed throughout heterochromatin. We demonstrate here that the selective enrichment of Epe1 at boundaries requires its regulation by the conserved Cul4-Ddb1(Cdt)² ubiquitin ligase, which directly recognizes Epe1 and promotes its polyubiquitylation and degradation. Strikingly, in cells lacking the ligase, Epe1 persists in the body of heterochromatin thereby inducing a defect in gene silencing. Epe1 is the sole target of the Cul4-Ddb1(Cdt)² complex whose destruction is necessary for the preservation of heterochromatin. This mechanism acts parallel with phosphorylation of HP1/Swi6 by CK2 to restrict Epe1. We conclude that the ubiquitin-dependent sculpting of the chromosomal distribution of an antisilencing factor is critical for heterochromatin boundaries to form correctly.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the last few years, the development of large-scale technologies has radically modified our conception of genome-wide transcriptional control by unveiling an unexpected high complexity of the eukaryotic transcriptome. In organisms ranging from yeast to human, a considerable number of novel small RNA species have been discovered in regions that were previously thought to be incompatible with high levels of transcription. Intriguingly, these transcripts, which are rapidly targeted for degradation by the exosome, appear to be devoid of any coding potential and may be the consequence of unwanted transcription events. However, the notion that an important fraction of these RNAs representby-products of regulatory transcription is progressively emerging. In this chapter, we discuss the recent advances made in our understanding of the shape of the eukaryotic transcriptome. We also focus on the molecular mechanisms that cells exploit to prevent cryptic transcripts from interfering with the expression of protein-coding genes. Finally, we summarize data obtained in different systems suggesting that such RNAs may play a critical role in the regulation of gene expression as well as the evolution of genomes.
Advances in experimental medicine and biology 01/2010; 702:122-31. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During transcription, proteins assemble sequentially with nascent RNA to generate a messenger ribonucleoprotein particle (mRNP). The THO complex and its associated Sub2p helicase are functionally implicated in both transcription and mRNP biogenesis but their precise function remains elusive. We show here that THO/Sub2p mutation leads to the accumulation of a stalled intermediate in mRNP biogenesis that contains nuclear pore components and polyadenylation factors in association with chromatin. Microarray analyses of genomic loci that are aberrantly docked to the nuclear pore in mutants allowed the identification of approximately 400 novel validated target genes that require THO /Sub2p for efficient expression. Our data strongly suggests that the THO complex/Sub2p function is required to coordinate events leading to the acquisition of export competence at a step that follows commitment to 3'-processing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Centromeric silencing and heterochromatin formation in Schizosaccharomyces pombe require the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery. Three factors that mediate this mechanism have been identified: 1) the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex RdRC, 2) the Argonaute-containing RITS (RNA-induced initiation of transcriptional silencing) complex, and 3) the endoribonuclease Dicer ortholog Dcr1. S. pombe mutants lacking a new factor described here, Ers1, are completely defective in RNAi-dependent silencing of centromeric regions but, importantly, not in RNAi-independent silencing at the mat3M or tel2R loci. ers1Delta cells likewise fail to convert centromeric pre-small interfering RNA transcripts into small interfering RNAs, are defective in histone H3 Lys(9) methylation, and are unable to recruit the RITS complex to centromeric sequences. Surprisingly, Ers1 lacks obvious orthologs outside of the genus Schizosaccharomyces. Within this group, it is diverging rapidly, raising the possibility that it is coevolving with target RNA elements.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2008; 283(38):25770-3. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: From the very first time they set foot in the nuclear landscape till the end of their life, RNAs are packaged in ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) and face numerous processing steps to achieve function. To avoid the catastrophic consequences of naturally occurring processing errors, cells employ numerous quality control strategies. Focusing on yeast as a model system, we will review here how nuclear mechanisms ensure the proper assembly and maturation of mRNPs for their release in the cytoplasm, and highlight how these mechanisms are exploited to shape the RNA polymerase II transcriptome.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 09/2008; 1779(9):524-31. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In eukaryotes, copying the genetic information from a DNA template into RNA is not sufficient itself to confer functional competence to the DNA-encoded message. mRNAs have to be processed by enzymes and packaged with proteins within nuclei to generate mRNP (messenger ribonucleoprotein) particles, before these can be exported to the cytoplasm. Processing and packaging factors are believed to interact with the nascent mRNA co-transcriptionally, which protects the highly reactive RNA molecule from a presumably aggressive nuclear environment while providing early commitment to its functional fate. In this review, we will describe the factors that are believed to provide the appropriate 'dress code' to the mRNA and the mechanisms underlying the proofreading events that guarantee its quality, focusing on yeast as a model system.
Biology of the Cell 07/2008; 100(6):327-42. · 3.49 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A significant proportion of RNA decay in eukaryotes takes place in the nucleus. In addition to targeting nongenic RNAs such as products of processing and spurious transcription events, nuclear RNA decay also removes aberrant transcripts from regular genes. Moreover, a small list of genes utilizes nuclear RNA turnover to regulate their expression levels. This chapter highlights concepts and techniques used in our laboratory to estimate nuclear mRNA degradation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This chapter focuses on the nuclear RNA decay route of the heat-inducible HSP104 transcript in strains harboring an inactive THO/Sub2p mRNA export complex. The described approaches are readily adoptable to the analysis of other cases of nuclear mRNA degradation.
Methods in enzymology 02/2008; 449:205-19. · 1.90 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nuclear exosome is involved in numerous RNA metabolic processes. Exosome degradation of rRNA, snoRNA, snRNA and tRNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is activated by TRAMP complexes, containing either the Trf4p or Trf5p poly(A) polymerase. These enzymes are presumed to facilitate exosome access by appending oligo(A)-tails onto structured substrates. Another role of the nuclear exosome is that of mRNA surveillance. In strains harboring a mutated THO/Sub2p system, involved in messenger ribonucleoprotein particle biogenesis and nuclear export, the exosome-associated 3' --> 5' exonuclease Rrp6p is required for both retention and degradation of nuclear restricted mRNAs. We show here that Trf4p, in the context of TRAMP, is an mRNA surveillance factor. However, unlike Rrp6p, Trf4p only partakes in RNA degradation and not in transcript retention. Surprisingly, a polyadenylation-defective Trf4p protein is fully active, suggesting polyadenylation-independent mRNA degradation. Transcription pulse-chase experiments show that HSP104 molecules undergoing quality control in THO/sub2 mutant strains fall into two distinct populations: One that is quickly degraded after transcription induction and another that escapes rapid decay and accumulates in foci associated with the HSP104 transcription site.
The EMBO Journal 05/2007; 26(9):2317-26. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cryptic unstable transcripts (CUTs) are widely distributed in the genome of S. cerevisiae. These RNAs generally derive from nonannotated regions of the genome and are degraded rapidly and efficiently by the nuclear exosome via a pathway that involves degradative polyadenylation by a new poly(A) polymerase borne by the TRAMP complex. What is the share of significant information that is encrypted in CUTs and what distinguishes a CUT from other Pol II transcripts are unclear to date. Here we report the dissection of the molecular mechanism that leads to degradation of a model CUT, NEL025c. We show that the Nrd1p-Nab3p-dependent pathway, involved in transcription termination of sno/snRNAs, is required, albeit not sufficient, for efficient degradation of NEL025c RNAs and at least a subset of other CUTs. Our results suggest an important role for the Nrd1p-Nab3p pathway in the control of gene expression throughout the genome.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since detection of an RNA molecule is the major criterion to define transcriptional activity, the fraction of the genome that is expressed is generally considered to parallel the complexity of the transcriptome. We show here that several supposedly silent intergenic regions in the genome of S. cerevisiae are actually transcribed by RNA polymerase II, suggesting that the expressed fraction of the genome is higher than anticipated. Surprisingly, however, RNAs originating from these regions are rapidly degraded by the combined action of the exosome and a new poly(A) polymerase activity that is defined by the Trf4 protein and one of two RNA binding proteins, Air1p or Air2p. We show that such a polyadenylation-assisted degradation mechanism is also responsible for the degradation of several Pol I and Pol III transcripts. Our data strongly support the existence of a posttranscriptional quality control mechanism limiting inappropriate expression of genetic information.