Co-transcriptional degradation of aberrant pre-mRNA by Xrn2.
ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic protein-coding genes are transcribed as pre-mRNAs that are matured by capping, splicing and cleavage and polyadenylation. Although human pre-mRNAs can be long and complex, containing multiple introns and many alternative processing sites, they are usually processed co-transcriptionally. Mistakes during nuclear mRNA maturation could lead to potentially harmful transcripts that are important to eliminate. However, the processes of human pre-mRNA degradation are not well characterised in the human nucleus. We have studied how aberrantly processed pre-mRNAs are degraded and find a role for the 5'?3' exonuclease, Xrn2. Xrn2 associates with and co-transcriptionally degrades nascent ?-globin transcripts, mutated to inhibit splicing or 3' end processing. Importantly, we provide evidence that many endogenous pre-mRNAs are also co-transcriptionally degraded by Xrn2 when their processing is inhibited by Spliceostatin A. Our data therefore establish a previously unknown function for Xrn2 and an important further aspect of pre-mRNA metabolism that occurs co-transcriptionally.
Project description:NF-?B repressing factor (NKRF) was recently identified as an RNA binding protein that together with its associated proteins, the 5'-3' exonuclease XRN2 and the helicase DHX15, is required to process the precursor ribosomal RNA. XRN2 is a multi-functional ribonuclease that is also involved in processing mRNAs, tRNAs and lncRNAs. The activity and stability of XRN2 are controlled by its binding partners, PAXT-1, CDKN2AIP and CDKN2AIPNL. In each case, these proteins interact with XRN2 via an XRN2 binding domain (XTBD), the structure and mode of action of which is highly conserved. Rather surprisingly, although NKRF interacts directly with XRN2, it was not predicted to contain such a domain, and NKRF's interaction with XRN2 was therefore unexplained. We have identified an alternative upstream AUG start codon within the transcript that encodes NKRF and demonstrate that the full-length form of NKRF contains an XTBD that is conserved across species. Our data suggest that NKRF is tethered in the nucleolus by binding directly to rRNA and that the XTBD in the N-terminal extension of NKRF is essential for the retention of XRN2 in this sub-organelle. Thus, we propose NKRF regulates the early steps of pre-rRNA processing during ribosome biogenesis by controlling the spatial distribution of XRN2 and our data provide further support for the XTBD as an XRN2 interacting motif.
Project description:Ribosome biogenesis requires multiple nuclease activities to process pre-rRNA transcripts into mature rRNA species and eliminate defective products of transcription and processing. We find that in mammalian cells, the 5' exonuclease Xrn2 plays a major role in both maturation of rRNA and degradation of a variety of discarded pre-rRNA species. Precursors of 5.8S and 28S rRNAs containing 5' extensions accumulate in mouse cells after siRNA-mediated knockdown of Xrn2, indicating similarity in the 5'-end maturation mechanisms between mammals and yeast. Strikingly, degradation of many aberrant pre-rRNA species, attributed mainly to 3' exonucleases in yeast studies, occurs 5' to 3' in mammalian cells and is mediated by Xrn2. Furthermore, depletion of Xrn2 reveals pre-rRNAs derived by cleavage events that deviate from the main processing pathway. We propose that probing of pre-rRNA maturation intermediates by exonucleases serves the dual function of generating mature rRNAs and suppressing suboptimal processing paths during ribosome assembly.
Project description:In eukaryotes, the synthesis of ribosomal subunits, which involves the maturation of the ribosomal (r)RNAs and assembly of ribosomal proteins, requires the co-ordinated action of a plethora of ribosome biogenesis factors. Many of these cofactors remain to be characterized in human cells. Here, we demonstrate that the human G-patch protein NF-?B-repressing factor (NKRF) forms a pre-ribosomal subcomplex with the DEAH-box RNA helicase DHX15 and the 5?-3? exonuclease XRN2. Using UV crosslinking and analysis of cDNA (CRAC), we reveal that NKRF binds to the transcribed spacer regions of the pre-rRNA transcript. Consistent with this, we find that depletion of NKRF, XRN2 or DHX15 impairs an early pre-rRNA cleavage step (A'). The catalytic activity of DHX15, which we demonstrate is stimulated by NKRF functioning as a cofactor, is required for efficient A' cleavage, suggesting that a structural remodelling event may facilitate processing at this site. In addition, we show that depletion of NKRF or XRN2 also leads to the accumulation of excised pre-rRNA spacer fragments and that NKRF is essential for recruitment of the exonuclease to nucleolar pre-ribosomal complexes. Our findings therefore reveal a novel pre-ribosomal subcomplex that plays distinct roles in the processing of pre-rRNAs and the turnover of excised spacer fragments.
Project description:Eukaryotic messenger RNA precursors (pre-mRNAs) synthesized by RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) are processed co-transcriptionally. The carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) of the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II is thought to mediate the coupling of transcription with pre-mRNA processing by coordinating the recruitment of processing factors during synthesis of nascent transcripts. Previous studies have demonstrated that the phosphorylated CTD is required for efficient co-transcriptional processing. In the study presented here we investigated whether the CTD is sufficient to coordinate transcription with pre-mRNA capping and splicing in the context of two other DNA-dependent RNA polymerases, mammalian RNAP III and bacteriophage T7 RNAP. Our results indicate that the CTD fused to the largest subunit of RNAP III (POLR3A) is not sufficient to enhance co-transcriptional pre-mRNA splicing or capping in vivo. Additionally, we analyzed a T7 RNAP-CTD fusion protein and examined its ability to enhance pre-mRNA splicing and capping of both constitutively and alternatively spliced substrates. We observed that the CTD in the context of T7 RNAP was not sufficient to enhance pre-mRNA splicing or capping either in vitro or in vivo. We propose that the efficient coupling of transcription to pre-mRNA processing requires not only the phosphorylated CTD but also other RNAP II specific subunits or associated factors.
Project description:Three Rat1/Xrn2 homologues exist in Arabidopsis thaliana: nuclear AtXRN2 and AtXRN3, and cytoplasmic AtXRN4. The latter has a role in degrading 3' products of miRNA-mediated mRNA cleavage, whereas all three proteins act as endogenous post-transcriptional gene silencing suppressors. Here we show that, similar to yeast nuclear Rat1, AtXRN2 has a role in ribosomal RNA processing. The lack of AtXRN2, however, does not result in defective formation of rRNA 5'-ends but inhibits endonucleolytic cleavage at the primary site P in the pre-rRNA resulting in the accumulation of the 35S* precursor. This does not lead to a decrease in mature rRNAs, as additional cleavages occur downstream of site P. Supplementing a P-site cleavage-deficient xrn2 plant extract with the recombinant protein restores processing activity, indicating direct participation of AtXRN2 in this process. Our data suggest that the 5' external transcribed spacer is shortened by AtXRN2 prior to cleavage at site P and that this initial exonucleolytic trimming is required to expose site P for subsequent endonucleolytic processing by the U3 snoRNP complex. We also show that some rRNA precursors and excised spacer fragments that accumulate in the absence of AtXRN2 and AtXRN3 are polyadenylated, indicating that these nucleases contribute to polyadenylation-dependent nuclear RNA surveillance.
Project description:Collaborator of alternative reading frame protein (CARF) associates directly with ARF, p53, and/or human double minute 2 protein (HDM2), a ubiquitin-protein ligase, without cofactors and regulates cell proliferation by forming a negative feedback loop. Although ARF, p53, and HDM2 also participate in the regulation of ribosome biogenesis, the involvement of CARF in this process remains unexplored. In this study, we demonstrate that CARF associates with 5'-3' exoribonuclease 2 (XRN2), which plays a major role in both the maturation of rRNA and the degradation of a variety of discarded pre-rRNA species. We show that overexpression of CARF increases the localization of XRN2 in the nucleoplasm and a concomitant suppression of pre-rRNA processing that leads to accumulation of the 5' extended from of 45S/47S pre-rRNA and 5'-01, A0-1 and E-2 fragments of pre-rRNA transcript in the nucleolus. This was also observed upon XRN2 knockdown. Knockdown of CARF increased the amount of XRN2 in the nucleolar fraction as determined by cell fractionation and by immnocytochemical analysis. These observations suggest that CARF regulates early steps of pre-rRNA processing during ribosome biogenesis by controlling spatial distribution of XRN2 between the nucleoplasm and nucleolus.
Project description:The heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNPK) is a nucleic acid-binding protein that acts as a docking platform integrating signal transduction pathways to nucleic acid-related processes. Given that hnRNPK could be involved in other steps that compose gene expression the definition of its genome-wide occupancy is important to better understand its role in transcription and co-transcriptional processes. Here, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing (ChIP-Seq) to analyze the genome-wide hnRNPK-DNA interaction in colon cancer cell line HCT116. 9.1/3.6 and 7.0/3.4 million tags were sequenced/mapped, then 1809 and 642 hnRNPK binding sites were detected in quiescent and 30-min serum-stimulated cells, respectively. The inspection of sequencing tracks revealed inducible hnRNPK recruitment along a number of immediate early gene loci, including EGR1 and ZFP36, with the highest densities present at the transcription termination sites. Strikingly, hnRNPK knockdown with siRNA resulted in increased pre-RNA levels transcribed downstream of the EGR1 polyadenylation (A) site suggesting altered 3'-end pre-RNA degradation. Further ChIP survey of hnRNPK knockdown uncovered decreased recruitment of the 5'-3' exonuclease XRN2 along EGR1 and downstream of the poly(A) signal without altering RNA polymerase II density at these sites. Immunoprecipitation of hnRNPK and XRN2 from intact and RNase A-treated nuclear extracts followed by shotgun mass spectrometry revealed the presence of hnRNPK and XRN2 in the same complexes along with other spliceosome-related proteins. Our data suggest that hnRNPK may play a role in recruitment of XRN2 to gene loci thus regulating coupling 3'-end pre-mRNA processing to transcription termination.
Project description:XRN2 is a 5'-3' exoribonuclease implicated in transcription termination. Here we demonstrate an unexpected role for XRN2 in the DNA damage response involving resolution of R-loop structures and prevention of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). We show that XRN2 undergoes DNA damage-inducible nuclear re-localization, co-localizing with 53BP1 and R loops, in a transcription and R-loop-dependent process. XRN2 loss leads to increased R loops, genomic instability, replication stress, DSBs and hypersensitivity of cells to various DNA damaging agents. We demonstrate that the DSBs that arise with XRN2 loss occur at transcriptional pause sites. XRN2-deficient cells also exhibited an R-loop- and transcription-dependent delay in DSB repair after ionizing radiation, suggesting a novel role for XRN2 in R-loop resolution, suppression of replication stress, and maintenance of genomic stability. Our study highlights the importance of regulating transcription-related activities as a critical component in maintaining genetic stability.
Project description:Transcription factors organize gene expression profiles by regulating promoter activity. However, the role of transcription factors after transcription initiation is poorly understood. Here, we show that the homeoprotein Nkx2-5 and the 5'-3' exonuclease Xrn2 are involved in the regulation of alternative polyadenylation (APA) during mouse heart development. Nkx2-5 occupied not only the transcription start sites (TSSs) but also the downstream regions of genes, serving to connect these regions in primary embryonic cardiomyocytes (eCMs). Nkx2-5 deficiency affected Xrn2 binding to target loci and resulted in increases in RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) occupancy and in the expression of mRNAs with long 3'untranslated regions (3' UTRs) from genes related to heart development. siRNA-mediated suppression of Nkx2-5 and Xrn2 led to heart looping anomaly. Moreover, Nkx2-5 genetically interacts with Xrn2 because Nkx2-5(+/-)Xrn2(+/-), but neither Nkx2-5(+/-)nor Xrn2(+/-), newborns exhibited a defect in ventricular septum formation, suggesting that the association between Nkx2-5 and Xrn2 is essential for heart development. Our results indicate that Nkx2-5 regulates not only the initiation but also the usage of poly(A) sites during heart development. Our findings suggest that tissue-specific transcription factors is involved in the regulation of APA.
Project description:Cotranscriptional RNA processing and surveillance factors mediate heterochromatin formation in diverse eukaryotes. In fission yeast, RNAi machinery and RNA elimination factors including the Mtl1-Red1 core and the exosome are involved in facultative heterochromatin assembly; however, the exact mechanisms remain unclear. Here we show that RNA elimination factors cooperate with the conserved exoribonuclease Dhp1/Rat1/Xrn2, which couples pre-mRNA 3'-end processing to transcription termination, to promote premature termination and facultative heterochromatin formation at meiotic genes. We also find that Dhp1 is critical for RNAi-mediated heterochromatin assembly at retroelements and regulated gene loci and facilitates the formation of constitutive heterochromatin at centromeric and mating-type loci. Remarkably, our results reveal that Dhp1 interacts with the Clr4/Suv39h methyltransferase complex and acts directly to nucleate heterochromatin. Our work uncovers a previously unidentified role for 3'-end processing and transcription termination machinery in gene silencing through premature termination and suggests that noncanonical transcription termination by Dhp1 and RNA elimination factors is linked to heterochromatin assembly. These findings have important implications for understanding silencing mechanisms targeting genes and repeat elements in higher eukaryotes.