Smg1 is required for embryogenesis and regulates diverse genes via alternative splicing coupled to nonsense-mediated mRNA decay.
ABSTRACT: Smg1 is a PI3K-related kinase (PIKK) associated with multiple cellular functions, including DNA damage responses, telomere maintenance, and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). NMD degrades transcripts that harbor premature termination codons (PTCs) as a result of events such as mutation or alternative splicing (AS). Recognition of PTCs during NMD requires the action of the Upstream frameshift protein Upf1, which must first be phosphorylated by Smg1. However, the physiological function of mammalian Smg1 is not known. By using a gene-trap model of Smg1 deficiency, we show that this kinase is essential for mouse embryogenesis such that Smg1 loss is lethal at embryonic day 8.5. High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) of RNA from cells of Smg1-deficient embryos revealed that Smg1 depletion led to pronounced accumulation of PTC-containing splice variant transcripts from approximately 9% of genes predicted to contain AS events capable of eliciting NMD. Among these genes are those involved in splicing itself, as well as genes not previously known to be subject to AS-coupled NMD, including several involved in transcription, intracellular signaling, membrane dynamics, cell death, and metabolism. Our results demonstrate a critical role for Smg1 in early mouse development and link the loss of this NMD factor to major and widespread changes in the mammalian transcriptome.
Project description:PI3K-related kinases (PIKKs) are large Serine/Threonine (Ser/Thr)-protein kinases central to the regulation of many fundamental cellular processes. PIKK family member SMG1 orchestrates progression of an RNA quality control pathway, termed nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), by phosphorylating the NMD factor UPF1. Phosphorylation of UPF1 occurs in its unstructured N- and C-terminal regions at Serine/Threonine-Glutamine (SQ) motifs. How SMG1 and other PIKKs specifically recognize SQ motifs has remained unclear. Here, we present a cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) reconstruction of a human SMG1-8-9 kinase complex bound to a UPF1 phosphorylation site at an overall resolution of 2.9 Å. This structure provides the first snapshot of a human PIKK with a substrate-bound active site. Together with biochemical assays, it rationalizes how SMG1 and perhaps other PIKKs specifically phosphorylate Ser/Thr-containing motifs with a glutamine residue at position +1 and a hydrophobic residue at position -1, thus elucidating the molecular basis for phosphorylation site recognition.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) is a messenger RNA quality-control pathway triggered by SMG1-mediated phosphorylation of the NMD factor UPF1. In recent times, the RNA helicase DHX34 was found to promote mRNP remodelling, leading to activation of NMD. Here we demonstrate the mechanism by which DHX34 functions in concert with SMG1. DHX34 comprises two distinct structural units, a core that binds UPF1 and a protruding carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) that binds the SMG1 kinase, as shown using truncated forms of DHX34 and electron microscopy of the SMG1-DHX34 complex. Truncation of the DHX34 CTD does not affect binding to UPF1; however, it compromises DHX34 binding to SMG1 to affect UPF1 phosphorylation and hence abrogate NMD. Altogether, these data suggest the existence of a complex comprising SMG1, UPF1 and DHX34, with DHX34 functioning as a scaffold for UPF1 and SMG1. This complex promotes UPF1 phosphorylation leading to functional NMD.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is important for RNA quality control and gene regulation in eukaryotes. NMD targets aberrant transcripts for decay and also directly influences the abundance of non-aberrant transcripts. In animals, the SMG1 kinase plays an essential role in NMD by phosphorylating the core NMD factor UPF1. Despite SMG1 being ubiquitous throughout the plant kingdom, little is known about its function, probably because SMG1 is atypically absent from the genome of the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. By combining our previously established SMG1 knockout in moss with transcriptome-wide analysis, we reveal the range of processes involving SMG1 in plants. Machine learning assisted analysis suggests that 32% of multi-isoform genes produce NMD-targeted transcripts and that splice junctions downstream of a stop codon act as the major determinant of NMD targeting. Furthermore, we suggest that SMG1 is involved in other quality control pathways, affecting DNA repair and the unfolded protein response, in addition to its role in mRNA quality control. Consistent with this, smg1 plants have increased susceptibility to DNA damage, but increased tolerance to unfolded protein inducing agents. The potential involvement of SMG1 in RNA, DNA and protein quality control has major implications for the study of these processes in plants.
Project description:The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway promotes rapid degradation of mRNAs containing premature translation termination codons (PTCs or nonsense codons), preventing accumulation of potentially detrimental truncated proteins. In metazoa, seven genes (upf1, upf2, upf3, smg1, smg5, smg6, and smg7) have been identified as essential for NMD; here we show that the zebrafish genome encodes orthologs of upf1, upf2, smg1, and smg5 to smg7 and two upf3 paralogs. We also show that Upf1 is required for degradation of PTC-containing mRNAs in zebrafish embryos. Moreover, its depletion has a severe impact on embryonic development, early patterning, and viability. Similar phenotypes are observed in Upf2-, Smg5-, or Smg6-depleted embryos, suggesting that zebrafish embryogenesis requires an active NMD pathway. Using cultured cells, we demonstrate that the ability of a PTC to trigger NMD is strongly stimulated by downstream exon-exon boundaries. Thus, as in mammals and plants but in contrast to invertebrates and fungi, NMD is coupled to splicing in zebrafish. Our results together with previous studies show that NMD effectors are essential for vertebrate embryogenesis and suggest that the coupling of splicing and NMD has been maintained in vertebrates but lost in fungi and invertebrates.
Project description:The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway promotes the rapid degradation of mRNAs containing premature stop codons (PTCs). In Caenorhabditis elegans, seven genes (smg1-7) playing an essential role in NMD have been identified. Only SMG2-4 (known as UPF1-3) have orthologs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here we show that the Drosophila orthologs of UPF1-3, SMG1, SMG5 and SMG6 are required for the degradation of PTC-containing mRNAs, but that there is no SMG7 ortholog in this organism. In contrast, orthologs of SMG5-7 are encoded by the human genome and all three are required for NMD. In human cells, exon boundaries have been shown to play a critical role in defining PTCs. This role is mediated by components of the exon junction complex (EJC). Contrary to expectation, however, we show that the components of the EJC are dispensable for NMD in Drosophila cells. Consistently, PTC definition occurs independently of exon boundaries in Drosophila. Our findings reveal that despite conservation of the NMD machinery, different mechanisms have evolved to discriminate premature from natural stop codons in metazoa.
Project description:Eukaryotic mRNAs with premature translation-termination codons (PTCs) are recognized and eliminated by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). NMD substrates can be degraded by different routes that all require phosphorylated UPF1 (P-UPF1) as a starting point. The endonuclease SMG6, which cleaves mRNA near the PTC, is one of the three known NMD factors thought to be recruited to nonsense mRNAs via an interaction with P-UPF1, leading to eventual mRNA degradation. By artificial tethering of SMG6 and mutants thereof to a reporter mRNA combined with knockdowns of various NMD factors, we demonstrate that besides its endonucleolytic activity, SMG6 also requires UPF1 and SMG1 to reduce reporter mRNA levels. Using in vivo and in vitro approaches, we further document that SMG6 and the unique stalk region of the UPF1 helicase domain, along with a contribution from the SQ domain, form a novel interaction and we also show that this region of the UPF1 helicase domain is critical for SMG6 function and NMD. Our results show that this interaction is required for NMD and for the capability of tethered SMG6 to degrade its bound RNA, suggesting that it contributes to the intricate regulation of UPF1 and SMG6 enzymatic activities.
Project description:The splicing factor SRSF1 promotes nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), a quality control mechanism that degrades mRNAs with premature termination codons (PTCs). Here we show that transcript-bound SRSF1 increases the binding of NMD factor UPF1 to mRNAs while in, or associated with, the nucleus, bypassing UPF2 recruitment and promoting NMD. SRSF1 promotes NMD when positioned downstream of a PTC, which resembles the mode of action of exon junction complex (EJC) and NMD factors. Moreover, splicing and/or EJC deposition increase the effect of SRSF1 on NMD. Lastly, SRSF1 enhances NMD of PTC-containing endogenous transcripts that result from various events. Our findings reveal an alternative mechanism for UPF1 recruitment, uncovering an additional connection between splicing and NMD. SRSF1's role in the mRNA's journey from splicing to decay has broad implications for gene expression regulation and genetic diseases.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) plays a fundamental role in the degradation of premature termination codon (PTC)-containing transcripts, but also regulates the expression of functional transcripts lacking PTCs, although such 'non-canonical' functions remain ill-defined and require the identification of factors targeting specific mRNAs to the NMD machinery. Our work identifies the stem cell-specific mRNA repressor protein TRIM71 as one of these factors. TRIM71 plays an essential role in embryonic development and is linked to carcinogenesis. For instance, TRIM71 has been correlated with advanced stages and poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma. Our data shows that TRIM71 represses the mRNA of the cell cycle inhibitor and tumor suppressor CDKN1A/p21 and promotes the proliferation of HepG2 tumor cells. CDKN1A specific recognition involves the direct interaction of TRIM71 NHL domain with a structural RNA stem-loop motif within the CDKN1A 3'UTR. Importantly, CDKN1A repression occurs independently of miRNA-mediated silencing. Instead, the NMD factors SMG1, UPF1 and SMG7 assist TRIM71-mediated degradation of CDKN1A mRNA, among other targets. Our data sheds light on TRIM71-mediated target recognition and repression mechanisms and uncovers a role for this stem cell-specific factor and oncogene in non-canonical NMD, revealing the existence of a novel mRNA surveillance mechanism which we have termed the TRIM71/NMD axis.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a cellular surveillance mechanism that degrades transcripts containing premature translation termination codons, and it also influences expression of certain wild-type transcripts. Although the biochemical mechanisms of NMD have been studied intensively, its developmental functions and importance are less clear. Here, we describe the isolation and characterization of Drosophila "photoshop" mutations, which increase expression of green fluorescent protein and other transgenes. Mapping and molecular analyses show that photoshop mutations are loss-of-function mutations in the Drosophila homologs of NMD genes Upf1, Upf2, and Smg1. We find that Upf1 and Upf2 are broadly active during development, and they are required for NMD as well as for proper expression of dozens of wild-type genes during development and for larval viability. Genetic mosaic analysis shows that Upf1 and Upf2 are required for growth and/or survival of imaginal cell clones, but this defect can be overcome if surrounding wild-type cells are eliminated. By contrast, we find that the PI3K-related kinase Smg1 potentiates but is not required for NMD or for viability, implying that the Upf1 phosphorylation cycle that is required for mammalian and Caenorhabditis elegans NMD has a more limited role during Drosophila development. Finally, we show that the SV40 3' UTR, present in many Drosophila transgenes, targets the transgenes for regulation by the NMD pathway. The results establish that the Drosophila NMD pathway is broadly active and essential for development, and one critical function of the pathway is to endow proliferating imaginal cells with a competitive growth advantage that prevents them from being overtaken by other proliferating cells.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a conserved mRNA quality control mechanism that identifies and destroys aberrant mRNAs that contain premature termination codons (PTCs). The NMD core comprises seven proteins, from SMG1 to SMG7. Arabidopsis has orthologues of most of these proteins. Studies on yeast, Drosophila, Humans and Arabidopsis reveal that NMD not only functions to target PTC-containing mRNAs but also acts as a global regulator of gene expression. It has also been reported that the NMD pathway branches with some target genes being dependent on specific NMD factors. In order to determine the extent to which different NMD factors co-regulate or independently regulate Arabidopsis genes, transcriptome analysis of smg7b-1 mutants will be carried out and added to existent data of upf1, upf3 and smg5 NMD mutants for comparison. RNA will be extracted from 17 day-old mutant and wild type seedlings grown at 22-24 C under constant light. 4 samples were used in this experiment