Research Items (43)
Cellular mRNA levels are determined by the rates of mRNA synthesis and mRNA decay. Typically, mRNA degradation kinetics are measured on a population of cells that are either chemically treated or genetically engineered to inhibit transcription. However, these manipulations can affect the mRNA decay process itself by inhibiting regulatory mechanisms that govern mRNA degradation, especially if they occur on short time-scales. Recently, single molecule fluorescent in situ hybridization (smFISH) approaches have been implemented to quantify mRNA decay rates in single, unperturbed cells. Here, we provide a step-by-step protocol that allows quantification of mRNA decay in single Saccharomyces cerevisiae using smFISH. Our approach relies on fluorescent labeling of single cytoplasmic mRNAs and nascent mRNAs found at active sites of transcription, coupled with mathematical modeling to derive mRNA half-lives. Commercially available, single-stranded smFISH DNA oligonucleotides (smFISH probes) are used to fluorescently label mRNAs followed by the quantification of cellular and nascent mRNAs using freely available spot detection algorithms. Our method enables quantification of mRNA decay of any mRNA in single, unperturbed yeast cells and can be implemented to quantify mRNA turnover in a variety of cell types as well as tissues.
mRNAs form ribonucleoprotein complexes (mRNPs) by association with proteins that are crucial for mRNA metabolism. While the mRNP proteome has been well characterized, little is known about mRNP organization. Using a single molecule approach, we show that mRNA conformation changes depending on its cellular localization and translational state. Compared to nuclear mRNPs, translation decompacts individual mRNAs, consistent with formation of polysomes, while their sequestration into stress-granules leads to increased compaction. Moreover, translating mRNAs rarely show co-localizing 5' and 3' ends, indicating that mRNAs are either not translated in a closed-loop configuration, or that mRNA circularization is transient, suggesting that a stable closed-loop conformation is not a universal state for all translating mRNAs.
To counteract the breakdown of genome integrity, eukaryotic cells have developed a network of surveillance pathways to prevent and resolve DNA damage. Recent data has recognized the importance of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) in DNA damage repair (DDR) pathways. Here, we describe Nol12 as a multifunctional RBP with roles in RNA metabolism and genome maintenance. Nol12 is found in different subcellular compartments: nucleoli, where it associates with ribosomal RNA and is required for efficient separation of large and small subunit precursors at site 2; the nucleoplasm, where it co-localizes with the RNA/DNA helicase Dhx9 and paraspeck-les; as well as GW/P-bodies in the cytoplasm. Loss of Nol12 results in the inability of cells to recover from DNA stress and a rapid p53-independent ATR-Chk1-mediated apoptotic response. Nol12 co-localizes with DNA repair proteins in vivo including Dhx9, as well as with TOPBP1 at sites of replication stalls, suggesting a role for Nol12 in the resolution of DNA stress and maintenance of genome integrity. Identification of a complex Nol12 interactome, which includes NONO, Dhx9, DNA-PK and Stau1, further supports the protein's diverse functions in RNA metabolism and DNA maintenance, establishing Nol12 as a multifunctional RBP essential for genome integrity.
Enhancers are intergenic DNA elements that regulate the transcription of target genes in response to signaling pathways by interacting with promoters over large genomic distances. Recent studies have revealed that enhancers are bi-directionally transcribed into enhancer RNAs (eRNAs). Using single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization (smFISH), we investigated the eRNA-mediated regulation of transcription during estrogen induction in MCF-7 cells. We demonstrate that eRNAs are localized exclusively in the nucleus and are induced with similar kinetics as target mRNAs. However, eRNAs are mostly nascent at enhancers and their steady-state levels remain lower than those of their cognate mRNAs. Surprisingly, at the single-allele level, eRNAs are rarely co-expressed with their target loci, demonstrating that active gene transcription does not require the continuous transcription of eR-NAs or their accumulation at enhancers. When co-expressed, sub-diffraction distance measurements between nascent mRNA and eRNA signals reveal that co-transcription of eRNAs and mRNAs rarely occurs within closed enhancer–promoter loops. Lastly, basal eRNA transcription at enhancers, but not E2-induced transcription, is maintained upon depletion of MLL1 and ER, suggesting some degree of chro-matin accessibility prior to signal-dependent activation of transcription. Together, our findings suggest that eRNA accumulation at enhancer–promoter loops is not required to sustain target gene transcription.
The last steps in mRNA export and remodeling are performed by the Nup82 complex, a large conserved assembly at the cytoplasmic face of the nuclear pore complex (NPC). By integrating diverse structural data, we have determined the molecular architecture of the native Nup82 complex at subnanometer precision. The complex consists of two compositionally identical multiprotein subunits that adopt different configurations. The Nup82 complex fits into the NPC through the outer ring Nup84 complex. Our map shows that this entire 14-MDa Nup82-Nup84 complex assembly positions the cytoplasmic mRNA export factor docking sites and messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) remodeling machinery right over the NPC’s central channel rather than on distal cytoplasmic filaments, as previously supposed. We suggest that this configuration efficiently captures and remodels exporting mRNP particles immediately upon reaching the cytoplasmic side of the NPC.
- Jan 2016
Regulation of mRNA and protein expression occurs at many levels, initiated at transcription and followed by mRNA processing, export, localization, translation and mRNA degradation. The ability to study mRNAs in living cells has become a critical tool to study and analyze how the various steps of the gene expression pathway are carried out. Here we describe a detailed protocol for real time fluorescent RNA imaging using the PP7 bacteriophage coat protein, which allows mRNA detection with high spatial and temporal resolution in the yeast S. cerevisiae, and can be applied to study various stages of mRNA metabolism. We describe the different parameters required for quantitative single molecule imaging in yeast, including strategies for genomic integration, expression of a PP7 coat protein GFP fusion protein, microscope setup and analysis strategies. We illustrate the method’s use by analyzing the behavior of nuclear mRNA in yeast and the role of the nuclear basket in mRNA export.
After synthesis and transit through the nucleus, messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are exported to the cytoplasm through the nuclear pore complex (NPC). At the NPC, messenger ribonucleoproteins (mRNPs) first encounter the nuclear basket where mRNP rearrangements are thought to allow access to the transport channel. Here, we use single mRNA resolution live cell microscopy and subdiffraction particle tracking to follow individual mRNAs on their path toward the cytoplasm. We show that when reaching the nuclear periphery, RNAs are not immediately exported but scan along the nuclear periphery, likely to find a nuclear pore allowing export. Deletion or mutation of the nuclear basket proteins MLP1/2 or the mRNA binding protein Nab2 changes the scanning behavior of mRNPs at the nuclear periphery, shortens residency time at nuclear pores, and results in frequent release of mRNAs back into the nucleoplasm. These observations suggest a role for the nuclear basket in providing an interaction platform that keeps RNAs at the periphery, possibly to allow mRNP rearrangements before export.
Many messenger RNA export proteins have been identified; yet the spatial and temporal activities of these proteins and how they determine directionality of messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) complex export from the nucleus remain largely undefined. Here, the bacteriophage PP7 RNA-labeling system was used in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to follow single-particle mRNP export events with high spatial precision and temporal resolution. These data reveal that mRNP export, consisting of nuclear docking, transport, and cytoplasmic release from a nuclear pore complex (NPC), is fast (∼200 ms) and that upon arrival in the cytoplasm, mRNPs are frequently confined near the nuclear envelope. Mex67p functions as the principal mRNP export receptor in budding yeast. In a mex67-5 mutant, delayed cytoplasmic release from NPCs and retrograde transport of mRNPs was observed. This proves an essential role for Mex67p in cytoplasmic mRNP release and directionality of transport.
Transcription is a highly regulated biological process, initiated through the assembly of complexes at the promoter that contain both the general transcriptional machinery and promoter-specific factors. Despite the abundance of studies focusing on transcription, certain questions have remained unanswered. It is not clear how the transcriptional profile of a promoter is affected by genomic context. Also, there is no single cell method to directly compare transcriptional profiles independent of gene length and sequence. In this work, we employ a single genetic site for isolating the transcriptional kinetics of yeast promoters. Utilizing single molecule FISH, we directly compare the transcriptional activity of different promoters, considering both synthesis and cell-to-cell variability. With this approach, we provide evidence suggesting promoters autonomously encode their associated transcriptional profiles, independent of genomic locus, gene length and gene sequence.
Naive CD4 T cells differentiate into several effector lineages, which generate a stronger and more rapid response to previously encountered immunological challenges. Although effector function is a key feature of adaptive immunity, the molecular basis of this process is poorly understood. Here, we investigated the spatiotemporal regulation of cytokine gene expression in resting and restimulated effector T helper 1 (Th1) cells. We found that the Lymphotoxin (LT)/TNF alleles, which encode TNF-α, were closely juxtaposed shortly after T-cell receptor (TCR) engagement, when transcription factors are limiting. Allelic pairing required a nuclear myosin, myosin VI, which is rapidly recruited to the LT/TNF locus upon restimulation. Furthermore, transcription was paused at the TNF locus and other related genes in resting Th1 cells and released in a myosin VI-dependent manner following activation. We propose that homologous pairing and myosin VI-mediated transcriptional pause release account for the rapid and efficient expression of genes induced by an external stimulus.
Regulating gene expression is a major task for all cellular systems. RNA production and degradation plays a critical role in this process and accurately measuring cellular mRNA levels is essential to understanding gene expression regulation. Classical biochemical assays that study gene expression rely on extracting RNAs from large populations of cells, taking them out of their native context and thereby losing spatial information as well as cell-to-cell variability. In this chapter, we describe a fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) technique that circumvents this problem by detecting single RNAs in single cells. The technique employs multiple single-stranded short DNA probes fluorescently labeled with organic dyes that hybridize to target RNAs in fixed cells, allowing quantification and localization of RNAs at the single-cell level and at single-molecule resolution. The protocol described here has been optimized for the yeast S. cerevisiae.
Many Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes encode antisense transcripts, some of which are unstable and degraded by the exosome component Rrp6. Loss of Rrp6 results in the accumulation of long PHO84 antisense (AS) RNAs and repression of sense transcription through PHO84 promoter deacetylation. We used single-molecule resolution fluorescent in situ hybridization (smFISH) to investigate antisense-mediated transcription regulation. We show that PHO84 AS RNA acts as a bimodal switch, in which continuous, low-frequency antisense transcription represses sense expression within individual cells. Surprisingly, antisense RNAs do not accumulate at the PHO84 gene but are exported to the cytoplasm. Furthermore, rather than stabilizing PHO84 AS RNA, the loss of Rrp6 favors its elongation by reducing early transcription termination by Nrd1-Nab3-Sen1. These observations suggest that PHO84 silencing results from antisense transcription through the promoter rather than the static accumulation of antisense RNAs at the repressed gene.
- May 2013
The rate of cell-cycle progression must be tuned in response to nutrient levels to ensure that sufficient materials are synthesized to generate viable daughters. We report that accumulation of the yeast M phase B-cyclin CLB2 mRNA depends on assembly and activation of the heterogeneous nuclear RNA-binding protein (hnRNP) arginine methyltransferase Hmt1, which is promoted by the kinase Dbf2 and countered by the PP2A phosphatase Pph22. Activated Hmt1 methylates hnRNPs, which in turn stabilize CLB2 transcripts. Dbf2 activation of Hmt1 is highly cooperative, producing a sharp increase in CLB2, whereas Pph22 dephosphorylation is graded such that small changes in PP2A activity can cause large shifts in Dbf2-mediated Hmt1 activity. Starvation and rapamycin inhibition of TOR activate Pph22, causing a depletion of CLB2 and delay of M phase. We propose a general model wherein changes to Pph22 activity modulate cyclin mRNA stability to tune cell-cycle progression to environmental conditions.
Live-cell imaging of mRNA yields important insights into gene expression, but it has generally been limited to the labeling of one RNA species and has never been used to count single mRNAs over time in yeast. We demonstrate a two-color imaging system with single-molecule resolution using MS2 and PP7 RNA labeling. We use this methodology to measure intrinsic noise in mRNA levels and RNA polymerase II kinetics at a single gene.
- Feb 2012
The evolutionary 'decision' to store genetic information away from the place of protein synthesis, in a separate compartment, has forced eukaryotic cells to establish a system to transport mRNAs from the nucleus to the cytoplasm for translation. To ensure export to be fast and efficient, cells have evolved a complex molecular interplay that is tightly regulated. Over the last few decades, many of the individual players in this process have been described, starting with the composition of the nuclear pore complex to proteins that modulate co-transcriptional events required to prepare an mRNP for export to the cytoplasm. How the interplay between all the factors and processes results in the efficient and selective export of mRNAs from the nucleus and how the export process itself is executed within cells, however, is still not fully understood. Recent advances in using proteomic and single molecule microscopy approaches have provided important insights into the process and its kinetics. This review summarizes these recent advances and how they led to the current view on how cells orchestrate the export of mRNAs. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Nuclear Transport and RNA Processing.
Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) allows the quantification of single mRNAs in budding yeast using fluorescently labeled single-stranded DNA probes, a wide-field epifluorescence microscope and a spot-detection algorithm. Fixed yeast cells are attached to coverslips and hybridized with a mixture of FISH probes, each conjugated to several fluorescent dyes. Images of cells are acquired in 3D and maximally projected for single-molecule analysis. Diffraction-limited labeled mRNAs are observed as bright fluorescent spots and can be quantified using a spot-detection algorithm. FISH preserves the spatial distribution of cellular RNA distribution within the cell and the stochastic fluctuations in individual cells that can lead to phenotypic differences within a clonal population. This information, however, is lost if the RNA content is measured on a population of cells by using reverse transcriptase PCR, microarrays or high-throughput sequencing. The FISH procedure and image acquisition described here can be completed in 3 d.
Cellular messenger RNA levels are achieved by the combinatorial complexity of factors controlling transcription, yet the small number of molecules involved in these pathways fluctuates stochastically. It has not yet been experimentally possible to observe the activity of single polymerases on an endogenous gene to elucidate how these events occur in vivo. Here, we describe a method of fluctuation analysis of fluorescently labeled RNA to measure dynamics of nascent RNA--including initiation, elongation, and termination--at an active yeast locus. We find no transcriptional memory between initiation events, and elongation speed can vary by threefold throughout the cell cycle. By measuring the abundance and intranuclear mobility of an upstream transcription factor, we observe that the gene firing rate is directly determined by trans-activating factor search times.
Expression of an individual gene can vary considerably among genetically identical cells because of stochastic fluctuations in transcription. However, proteins comprising essential complexes or pathways have similar abundances and lower variability. It is not known whether coordination in the expression of subunits of essential complexes occurs at the level of transcription, mRNA abundance or protein expression. To directly measure the level of coordination in the expression of genes, we used highly sensitive fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to count individual mRNAs of functionally related and unrelated genes within single Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. Our results revealed that transcript levels of temporally induced genes are highly correlated in individual cells. In contrast, transcription of constitutive genes encoding essential subunits of complexes is not coordinated because of stochastic fluctuations. The coordination of these functional complexes therefore must occur post-transcriptionally, and likely post-translationally.
- Dec 2010
As the product of transcription and the blueprint for translation, mRNA is the main intermediate product of the gene expression pathway. The ability to accurately determine mRNA levels is, therefore, a major requirement when studying gene expression. mRNA is also a target of different regulatory steps, occurring in different subcellular compartments. To understand the different steps of gene expression regulation, it is therefore essential to analyze mRNA in the context of a single cell, maintaining spatial information. Here, we describe a stepwise protocol for fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) that allows detection of individual mRNAs in single yeast cells. This method allows quantitative analysis of mRNA expression in single cells, permitting "absolute" quantification by simply counting mRNAs. It further allows us to study many aspects of mRNA metabolism, from transcription to processing, localization, and mRNA degradation.
The biogenesis of a localization-competent mRNP begins in the nucleus. It is thought that the coordinated action of nuclear and cytoplasmic components of the localization machinery is required for the efficient export and subsequent subcellular localization of these mRNAs in the cytoplasm. Using quantitative poly(A)(+) and transcript-specific fluorescent in situ hybridization, we analyzed different nonessential nucleoporins and nuclear pore-associated proteins for their potential role in mRNA export and localization. We found that Nup60p, a nuclear pore protein located on the nucleoplasmic side of the nuclear pore complex, was required for the mRNA localization pathway. In a Δnup60 background, localized mRNAs were preferentially retained within the nucleus compared to nonlocalized transcripts. However, the export block was only partial and some transcripts could still reach the cytoplasm. Importantly, downstream processes were also affected. Localization of ASH1 and IST2 mRNAs to the bud was impaired in the Δnup60 background, suggesting that the assembly of a localization competent mRNP ("locasome") was inhibited when NUP60 was deleted. These results demonstrate transcript specificity of a nuclear mRNA retention defect and identify a specific nucleoporin as a functional component of the localization pathway in budding yeast.
Oscillations in patterns of expression of a large fraction of yeast genes are associated with the "metabolic cycle," usually seen only in prestarved, continuous cultures of yeast. We used FISH of mRNA in individual cells to test the hypothesis that these oscillations happen in single cells drawn from unsynchronized cultures growing exponentially in chemostats. Gene-expression data from synchronized cultures were used to predict coincident appearance of mRNAs from pairs of genes in the unsynchronized cells. Quantitative analysis of the FISH results shows that individual unsynchronized cells growing slowly because of glucose limitation or phosphate limitation show the predicted oscillations. We conclude that the yeast metabolic cycle is an intrinsic property of yeast metabolism and does not depend on either synchronization or external limitation of growth by the carbon source.
Ribosomal processing requires a series of endo- and exonucleolytic steps for the production of mature ribosomes, of which most have been described. To ensure ribosome synthesis, 3' end formation of rRNA uses multiple nucleases acting in parallel; however, a similar parallel mechanism had not been described for 5' end maturation. Here, we identify Rrp17p as a previously unidentified 5'-3' exonuclease essential for ribosome biogenesis, functioning with Rat1p in a parallel processing pathway analogous to that of 3' end formation. Rrp17p is required for efficient exonuclease digestion of the mature 5' ends of 5.8S(S) and 25S rRNAs, contains a catalytic domain close to its N terminus, and is highly conserved among higher eukaryotes, being a member of a family of exonucleases. We show that Rrp17p binds late pre-60S ribosomes, accompanying them from the nucleolus to the nuclear periphery, and provide evidence for physical and functional links between late 60S subunit processing and export.
- Oct 2009
Analyzing the expression of single genes in single cells appears minimalistic in comparison to gene expression studies based on more global approaches. However, stimulated by advances in imaging technologies, single-cell studies have become an essential tool in understanding the rules that govern gene expression. This quantitative view of single-cell gene expression is based on counting mRNAs in single cells, monitoring transcription in real time, and visualizing single proteins. Parallel advances in mathematical models based on stochastic, discrete descriptions of biochemical processes have provided crucial insights into the underlying cellular mechanisms that control expression. The view that has emerged is rooted in a probabilistic understanding of cellular processes that quantitatively explains both the mean and the variation observed in gene-expression patterns among single cells. Thus, the close coupling between imaging and mathematical theory has established single-cell analysis as an essential branch of systems biology.
The advent of new technologies for the imaging of living cells has made it possible to determine the properties of transcription, the kinetics of polymerase movement, the association of transcription factors, and the progression of the polymerase on the gene. We report here the current state of the field and the progress necessary to achieve a more complete understanding of the various steps in transcription. Our Consortium is dedicated to developing and implementing the technology to further this understanding.
Proper execution of transcriptional programs is a key requirement of gene expression regulation, demanding accurate control of timing and amplitude. How precisely the transcription machinery fulfills this task is not known. Using an in situ hybridization approach that detects single mRNA molecules, we measured mRNA abundance and transcriptional activity within single Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. We found that expression levels for particular genes are higher than initially reported and can vary substantially among cells. However, variability for most constitutively expressed genes is unexpectedly small. Combining single-transcript measurements with computational modeling indicates that low expression variation is achieved by transcribing genes using single transcription-initiation events that are clearly separated in time, rather than by transcriptional bursts. In contrast, PDR5, a gene regulated by the transcription coactivator complex SAGA, is expressed using transcription bursts, resulting in larger variation. These data directly demonstrate the existence of multiple expression modes used to modulate the transcriptome.
INTRODUCTIONThe MS2 system provides optimal sensitivity for single-molecule detection in cells. It requires two genetically encoded moieties: a reporter mRNA that contains MS2 binding site (MBS) stem loops and a fluorescent MS2 coat protein (MCP-xFP) that binds to the stem loops with high affinity, thus tagging the mRNA within the cell. This protocol describes transfection of COS-7 cells with reporter RNA (e.g., pRSV-Z-24 MBS-β-actin) and MCP-xFP (e.g., pPolII-MCP-GFP-NLS) plasmids using calcium phosphate precipitation. The reporter mRNA plasmid must be co-transfected with the MCP-xFP-NLS plasmid for simultaneous expression in a cell. The unbound MCP-xFP-NLS is sequestered in the nucleus, leaving only the MCP-xFP-NLS that is bound to the reporter mRNA in the cytoplasm. This provides a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) that permits detection of single mRNA molecules. The Delta T Imaging System is used for image acquisition of fluorescent particles in the cells.
INTRODUCTIONThis protocol describes the application of the MS2 system to the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. ASH1 mRNA tagged with six MS2 repeats (6MBSs) is used to follow the localization of the ASH1 mRNA particles to the bud tip of a haploid yeast cell. W303 yeast cells transformed with pG14-MS2-GFP and pGAL-lacZ-MS2-ASH1 are grown on select medium lacking tryptophan and leucine. RNA expression is induced by the addition of galactose, and a time-lapse movie is then acquired.
INTRODUCTIONThis protocol describes a method for establishing a green fluorescent protein (GFP) calibration curve using dilutions of recombinant GFP and blue fluorescent beads. The total fluorescence intensity (TFI) per mRNA molecule is first calculated by imaging serial dilutions of purified enhanced GFP (eGFP) to determine the TFI within a specific volume. A calibration curve of fluorescence intensity in a given voxel per molecule of GFP is then used to determine the number of GFP molecules in the sample of formaldehyde fixed cells to be imaged. This is followed by a method for detection of single molecules in formaldehyde-fixed and live cells. These cells have been cotransfected with mRNA reporter and MCP-xFP plasmids, where MCP-xFP refers to a fluorescent protein fused to the MS2 capsid protein. It is important to collect micrographs and establish the calibration curve on the same day that the cells are imaged, using the same equipment configuration, camera settings, and image acquisition parameters.
INTRODUCTIONThis protocol describes the use of ImageJ software (freely available from NIH) to analyze particle dynamics in a cell using time-lapse movie frames or image stacks of fluorescent mRNA particles. Maximum intensity projections and kymographs are produced.
INTRODUCTIONThe most common way for a cell to respond to internal and external signals is to change its gene expression pattern. This requires the synchronization of regulatory steps along the expression pathway. Biological imaging techniques can be used to visualize and measure such processes in individual live cells in real time. This article discusses the use of a fluorescent RNA-binding protein system that allows real-time analysis of gene expression with single-transcript resolution.
- Mar 2007
Autoregulatory loops often provide precise control of the level of expression of specific genes that encode key regulatory proteins. Here we have defined a pathway by which Yra1p, a yeast mRNA export factor, controls its own expression. We show that YRA1 exon 1 sequences in cis and Yra1p in trans inhibit YRA1 pre-mRNA splicing and commit the pre-mRNA to nuclear export. Mex67p and Crm1p jointly promote YRA1 pre-mRNA export, and once in the cytoplasm, the pre-mRNA is degraded by a 5' to 3' decay mechanism that is dependent on the decapping activator Edc3p and on specific sequences in the YRA1 intron. These results illustrate how common steps in the nuclear processing, export, and degradation of a transcript can be uniquely combined to control the expression of a specific gene and suggest that Edc3p-mediated decay may have additional regulatory functions in eukaryotic cells.
Localization of beta-actin messenger RNA to sites of active actin polymerization modulates cell migration during embryogenesis, differentiation and possibly carcinogenesis. This localization requires the oncofetal protein ZBP1 (Zipcode binding protein 1), which binds to a conserved 54-nucleotide element in the 3'-untranslated region of the beta-actin mRNA known as the 'zipcode'. ZBP1 promotes translocation of the beta-actin transcript to actin-rich protrusions in primary fibroblasts and neurons. It is not known how the ZBP1-RNA complex achieves asymmetric protein sorting by localizing beta-actin mRNA. Here we show that chicken ZBP1 modulates the translation of beta-actin mRNA. ZBP1 associates with the beta-actin transcript in the nucleus and prevents premature translation in the cytoplasm by blocking translation initiation. Translation only occurs when the ZBP1-RNA complex reaches its destination at the periphery of the cell. At the endpoint of mRNA transport, the protein kinase Src promotes translation by phosphorylating a key tyrosine residue in ZBP1 that is required for binding to RNA. These sequential events provide both temporal and spatial control over beta-actin mRNA translation, which is important for cell migration and neurite outgrowth.
The mRNA export adaptor Yra1p/REF contributes to nascent mRNP assembly and recruitment of the export receptor Mex67p. yra1 mutants exhibit mRNA export defects and a decrease in LacZ reporter and certain endogenous transcripts. The loss of Mlp1p/Mlp2p, two TPR-like proteins attached to nuclear pores, rescues LacZ mRNA levels and increases their appearance in the cytoplasm, without restoring bulk poly(A)+ RNA export. Chromatin immunoprecipitation, FISH and pulse-chase experiments indicate that Mlps downregulate LacZ mRNA synthesis in a yra1 mutant strain. Microarray analyses reveal that Mlp2p also reduces a subset of cellular transcripts in the yra1 mutant. Finally, we show that Yra1p genetically interacts with the shuttling mRNA-binding protein Nab2p and that loss of Mlps rescues the growth defect of yra1 and nab2 but not other mRNA export mutants. We propose that Nab2p and Yra1p are required for proper mRNP docking to the Mlp platform. Defects in Yra1p prevent mRNPs from crossing the Mlp gate and this block negatively feeds back on the transcription of a subset of genes, suggesting that Mlps link mRNA transcription and export.
- Nov 2004
Selective transport of mRNAs in ribonucleoprotein particles (mRNP) ensures asymmetric distribution of information within and among eukaryotic cells. Actin-dependent transport of ASH1 mRNA in yeast represents one of the best-characterized examples of mRNP translocation. Formation of the ASH1 mRNP requires recognition of zip code elements by the RNA binding protein She2p. We determined the X-ray structure of She2p at 1.95 A resolution. She2p is a member of a previously unknown class of nucleic acid binding proteins, composed of a single globular domain with a five alpha helix bundle that forms a symmetric homodimer. After demonstrating potent, dimer-dependent RNA binding in vitro, we mapped the RNA binding surface of She2p to a basic helical hairpin in vitro and in vivo and present a mechanism for mRNA-dependent initiation of ASH1 mRNP complex assembly.
In yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Ash1p, a protein determinant for mating-type switching, is segregated within the daughter cell nucleus to establish asymmetry of HO expression. The accumulation of Ash1p results from ASH1 mRNA that is sorted as a ribonucleoprotein particle (mRNP or locasome) to the distal tip of the bud where translation occurs. To study the mechanism regulating ASH1 mRNA translation, we isolated the ASH1 locasome and characterized the associated proteins by MALDI-TOF. One of these proteins was Puf6p, a new member of the PUF family of highly conserved RNA-binding proteins such as Pumilio in Drosophila, responsible for translational repression, usually to effect asymmetric expression. Puf6p-bound PUF consensus sequences in the 3'UTR of ASH1 mRNA and repressed the translation of ASH1 mRNA both in vivo and in vitro. In the puf6 Delta strain, asymmetric localization of both Ash1p and ASH1 mRNA were significantly reduced. We propose that Puf6p is a protein that functions in the translational control of ASH1 mRNA, and this translational inhibition is necessary before localization can proceed.
- Jan 2004
Active transport and localized translation of the ASH1 mRNA at the bud tip of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an essential process that is required for the regulation of the mating type switching. ASH1 mRNA localization has been extensively studied over the past few years and the core components of the translocation machinery have been identified. It is composed of four localization elements (zipcodes), within the ASH1 mRNA, and at least three proteins, She1p/Myo4p, She2p and She3p. Whereas the movement of the RNA can be attributed to direct interaction with myosin, the regulation of the RNA expression is less well understood. Recent insights have revealed a role for translation that might have a key function in the regulation of Ash1 protein sorting.
Yra1p/REF participates in mRNA export by recruiting the export receptor Mex67p to messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) complexes. Yra1p also binds Sub2p, a DEAD box ATPase/RNA helicase implicated in splicing and required for mRNA export. We identified genetic and physical interactions between Yra1p, Sub2p, and Hpr1p, a protein involved in transcription elongation whose deletion leads to poly(A)+ RNA accumulation in the nucleus. By chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments, we show that Hpr1p, Sub2p, and Yra1p become associated with active genes during transcription elongation and that Hpr1p is required for the efficient recruitment of Sub2p and Yra1p. The data indicate that transcription and export are functionally linked and that mRNA export defects may be due in part to inefficient loading of essential mRNA export factors on the growing mRNP. We also identified functional interactions between Yra1p and the exosome components Rrp45p and Rrp6p. We show that yra1, sub2, and Δhpr1 mutants all present defects in mRNA accumulation and that deletion of RRP6 in yra1 mutants restores normal mRNA levels. The data support the hypothesis that an exosome-dependent surveillance mechanism targets improperly assembled mRNPs for degradation.
In a screen to identify genes required for mRNA export in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we isolated an allele of poly(A) polymerase (PAP1) and novel alleles encoding several other 3' processing factors. Many newly isolated and some previously described mutants (rna14-48, rna14-49, rna14-64, rna15-58, and pcf11-1 strains) are defective in polymerase II (Pol II) termination but, interestingly, retain the ability to polyadenylate these improperly processed transcripts at the nonpermissive temperature. Deletion of the cis-acting sequences required to couple 3' processing and termination also produces transcripts that fail to exit the nucleus, suggesting that all of these processes (cleavage, termination, and export) are coupled. We also find that several but not all mRNA export mutants produce improperly 3' processed transcripts at the nonpermissive temperature. 3' maturation defects in mRNA export mutants include improper Pol II termination and/or the previously characterized hyperpolyadenylation of transcripts. Importantly, not all mRNA export mutants have defects in 3' processing. The similarity of the phenotypes of some mRNA export mutants and 3' processing mutants indicates that some factors from each process may mechanistically interact to couple mRNA processing and export. Consistent with this assumption, we present evidence that Xpo1p interacts in vivo with several 3' processing factors and that the addition of recombinant Xpo1p to in vitro processing reaction mixtures stimulates 3' maturation. Of the core 3' processing factors tested (Rna14p, Rna15p, Pcf11p, Hrp1p, Fip1p, and Cft1p), only Hrp1p shuttles. Overexpression of Rat8p/Dbp5p suppresses both 3' processing and mRNA export defects found in xpo1-1 cells.
Yra1p is an essential nuclear protein which belongs to the evolutionarily conserved REF (RNA and export factor binding proteins) family of hnRNP-like proteins. Yra1p contributes to mRNA export in vivo and directly interacts with RNA and the shuttling mRNP export receptor Mex67p in vitro. Here we describe a second nonessentialSaccharomyces cerevisiae family member, called Yra2p, which is able to complement a YRA1 deletion when overexpressed. Like other REF proteins, Yra1p and Yra2p consist of two highly conserved N- and C-terminal boxes and a central RNP-like RNA-binding domain (RBD). These conserved regions are separated by two more variable regions, N-vr and C-vr. Surprisingly, the deletion of a single conserved box or the deletion of the RBD in Yra1p does not affect viability. Consistently, neither the conserved N and C boxes nor the RBD is required for Mex67p and RNA binding in vitro. Instead, the N-vr and C-vr regions both interact with Mex67p and RNA. We further show that Yra1 deletion mutants which poorly interact with Mex67p in vitro affect the association of Mex67p with mRNP complexes in vivo and are paralleled by poly(A)+ RNA export defects. These observations support the idea that Yra1p promotes mRNA export by facilitating the recruitment of Mex67p to the mRNP.
- Jul 2001
Export of mRNA through nuclear pore complexes (NPC) is preceded by multiple and well coordinated processing steps, resulting in the formation of an export competent ribonucleoprotein complex (mRNP). Numerous factors involved in the translocation of the mRNP through the NPC and its release into the cytoplasm have been isolated mainly through genetic approaches in yeast, and putative functional homologues have been identified in metazoan systems. Understanding the mechanism of mRNA export relies, in part, on the functional characterization of these factors and the establishment of a complete network of molecular interactions. Here we summarize recent progress in the characterization of yeast and mammalian components implicated in the export of an mRNA from the nucleus to the cytoplasm.
We have used the yeast three-hybrid system in a positive selection for mutants of the human histone hairpin-binding protein (HBP) capable of interacting with non-canonical hairpins and in a negative selection for loss-of-binding mutants. Interestingly, all mutations from the positive selection are located in the N- and C-terminal regions flanking a minimal RNA-binding domain (RBD) previously defined between amino acids 126 and 198. Further, in vitro binding studies demonstrate that the RBD, which shows no obvious similarity to other RNA-binding motifs, has a relaxed sequence specificity compared to full-length HBP, allowing it to bind to mutant hairpin RNAs not normally found in histone genes. These findings indicate that the sequences flanking the RBD are important for restricting binding to the highly conserved histone hairpin structure. Among the loss-of-binding mutations, about half are nonsense mutations distributed throughout the N-terminal part and the RBD whereas the other half are missense mutations restricted to the RBD. Whereas the nonsense mutations permit a more precise definition of the C-terminal border of the RBD, the missense mutations identify critical residues for RNA binding within the RBD.
Gle1p is an essential, nuclear pore complex (NPC)-associated RNA export factor. In a screen for high copy suppressors of a GLE1 mutant strain, we identified the FG-nucleoporin Rip1p and the DEAD-box protein Rat8p/Dbp5p, both of which have roles in RNA export; we also found Ymr255p/Gfd1p, a novel inessential protein. All three high copy suppressors interact with the C-terminal domain of Gle1p; immunoelectron microscopy localizations indicate that Gle1p, Rip1p and Rat8p/Dbp5p are present on the NPC cytoplasmic fibrils; Rip1p was also found within the nucleoplasm and on the nuclear baskets. In vivo localizations support the hypothesis that Rip1p contributes to the association of Gle1p with the pore and that Gle1p, in turn, provides a binding site for Rat8p/Dbp5p at the NPC. These data are consistent with the view that Gle1p, Rip1p, Rat8p/Dbp5p and Ymr255p/Gfd1p associate on the cytoplasmic side of the NPC to act in a terminal step of RNA export. We also describe a human functional homologue of Rip1p, called hCG1, which rescues Rip1p function in yeast, consistent with the evolutionary conservation of this NPC-associated protein.