The PAF complex and Prf1/Rtf1 delineate distinct Cdk9-dependent pathways regulating transcription elongation in fission yeast.
ABSTRACT: Cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (Cdk9) promotes elongation by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), mRNA processing, and co-transcriptional histone modification. Cdk9 phosphorylates multiple targets, including the conserved RNAPII elongation factor Spt5 and RNAPII itself, but how these different modifications mediate Cdk9 functions is not known. Here we describe two Cdk9-dependent pathways in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe that involve distinct targets and elicit distinct biological outcomes. Phosphorylation of Spt5 by Cdk9 creates a direct binding site for Prf1/Rtf1, a transcription regulator with functional and physical links to the Polymerase Associated Factor (PAF) complex. PAF association with chromatin is also dependent on Cdk9 but involves alternate phosphoacceptor targets. Prf1 and PAF are biochemically separate in cell extracts, and genetic analyses show that Prf1 and PAF are functionally distinct and exert opposing effects on the RNAPII elongation complex. We propose that this opposition constitutes a Cdk9 auto-regulatory mechanism, such that a positive effect on elongation, driven by the PAF pathway, is kept in check by a negative effect of Prf1/Rtf1 and downstream mono-ubiquitylation of histone H2B. Thus, optimal RNAPII elongation may require balanced action of functionally distinct Cdk9 pathways.
Project description:To physically characterize the web of interactions connecting the Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteins suspected to be RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) elongation factors, subunits of Spt4/Spt5 and Spt16/Pob3 (corresponding to human DSIF and FACT), Spt6, TFIIF (Tfg1, -2, and -3), TFIIS, Rtf1, and Elongator (Elp1, -2, -3, -4, -5, and -6) were affinity purified under conditions designed to minimize loss of associated polypeptides and then identified by mass spectrometry. Spt16/Pob3 was discovered to associate with three distinct complexes: histones; Chd1/casein kinase II (CKII); and Rtf1, Paf1, Ctr9, Cdc73, and a previously uncharacterized protein, Leo1. Rtf1 and Chd1 have previously been implicated in the control of elongation, and the sensitivity to 6-azauracil of strains lacking Paf1, Cdc73, or Leo1 suggested that these proteins are involved in elongation by RNAPII as well. Confirmation came from chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays demonstrating that all components of this complex, including Leo1, cross-linked to the promoter, coding region, and 3' end of the ADH1 gene. In contrast, the three subunits of TFIIF cross-linked only to the promoter-containing fragment of ADH1. Spt6 interacted with the uncharacterized, essential protein Iws1 (interacts with Spt6), and Spt5 interacted either with Spt4 or with a truncated form of Spt6. ChIP on Spt6 and the novel protein Iws1 resulted in the cross-linking of both proteins to all three regions of the ADH1 gene, suggesting that Iws1 is likely an Spt6-interacting elongation factor. Spt5, Spt6, and Iws1 are phosphorylated on consensus CKII sites in vivo, conceivably by the Chd1/CKII associated with Spt16/Pob3. All the elongation factors but Elongator copurified with RNAPII.
Project description:Mono-ubiquitylation of histone H2B (H2Bub1) and phosphorylation of elongation factor Spt5 by cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (Cdk9) occur during transcription by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), and are mutually dependent in fission yeast. It remained unclear whether Cdk9 and H2Bub1 cooperate to regulate the expression of individual genes. Here, we show that Cdk9 inhibition or H2Bub1 loss induces intragenic antisense transcription of ?10% of fission yeast genes, with each perturbation affecting largely distinct subsets; ablation of both pathways de-represses antisense transcription of over half the genome. H2Bub1 and phospho-Spt5 have similar genome-wide distributions; both modifications are enriched, and directly proportional to each other, in coding regions, and decrease abruptly around the cleavage and polyadenylation signal (CPS). Cdk9-dependence of antisense suppression at specific genes correlates with high H2Bub1 occupancy, and with promoter-proximal RNAPII pausing. Genetic interactions link Cdk9, H2Bub1 and the histone deacetylase Clr6-CII, while combined Cdk9 inhibition and H2Bub1 loss impair Clr6-CII recruitment to chromatin and lead to decreased occupancy and increased acetylation of histones within gene coding regions. These results uncover novel interactions between co-transcriptional histone modification pathways, which link regulation of RNAPII transcription elongation to suppression of aberrant initiation.
Project description:Elongation by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) is a finely regulated process in which many elongation factors contribute to gene regulation. Among these factors are the polymerase-associated factor (PAF) complex, which associates with RNAPII, and several cyclin-dependent kinases, including positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) in humans and BUR kinase (Bur1-Bur2) and C-terminal domain (CTD) kinase 1 (CTDK1) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. An important target of P-TEFb and CTDK1, but not BUR kinase, is the CTD of the Rpb1 subunit of RNAPII. Although the essential BUR kinase phosphorylates Rad6, which is required for histone H2B ubiquitination on K123, Rad6 is not essential, leaving a critical substrate(s) of BUR kinase unidentified. Here we show that BUR kinase is important for the phosphorylation in vivo of Spt5, a subunit of the essential yeast RNAPII elongation factor Spt4/Spt5, whose human orthologue is DRB sensitivity-inducing factor. BUR kinase can also phosphorylate the C-terminal region (CTR) of Spt5 in vitro. Like BUR kinase, the Spt5 CTR is important for promoting elongation by RNAPII and recruiting the PAF complex to transcribed regions. Also like BUR kinase and the PAF complex, the Spt5 CTR is important for histone H2B K123 monoubiquitination and histone H3 K4 and K36 trimethylation during transcription elongation. Our results suggest that the Spt5 CTR, which contains 15 repeats of a hexapeptide whose consensus sequence is S[T/A]WGG[A/Q], is a substrate of BUR kinase and a platform for the association of proteins that promote both transcription elongation and histone modification in transcribed regions.
Project description:Transcript elongation by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) is accompanied by conserved patterns of histone modification. Whereas histone modifications have established roles in transcription initiation, their functions during elongation are not understood. Mono-ubiquitylation of histone H2B (H2Bub1) plays a key role in coordinating co-transcriptional histone modification by promoting site-specific methylation of histone H3. H2Bub1 also regulates gene expression through an unidentified, methylation-independent mechanism. Here we reveal bidirectional communication between H2Bub1 and Cdk9, the ortholog of metazoan positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Chemical and classical genetic analyses indicate that lowering Cdk9 activity or preventing phosphorylation of its substrate, the transcription processivity factor Spt5, reduces H2Bub1 in vivo. Conversely, mutations in the H2Bub1 pathway impair Cdk9 recruitment to chromatin and decrease Spt5 phosphorylation. Moreover, an Spt5 phosphorylation-site mutation, combined with deletion of the histone H3 Lys4 methyltransferase Set1, phenocopies morphologic and growth defects due to H2Bub1 loss, suggesting independent, partially redundant roles for Cdk9 and Set1 downstream of H2Bub1. Surprisingly, mutation of the histone H2B ubiquitin-acceptor residue relaxes the Cdk9 activity requirement in vivo, and cdk9 mutations suppress cell-morphology defects in H2Bub1-deficient strains. Genome-wide analyses by chromatin immunoprecipitation also demonstrate opposing effects of Cdk9 and H2Bub1 on distribution of transcribing RNAPII. Therefore, whereas mutual dependence of H2Bub1 and Spt5 phosphorylation indicates positive feedback, mutual suppression by cdk9 and H2Bub1-pathway mutations suggests antagonistic functions that must be kept in balance to regulate elongation. Loss of H2Bub1 disrupts that balance and leads to deranged gene expression and aberrant cell morphologies, revealing a novel function of a conserved, co-transcriptional histone modification.
Project description:Restores TBP function 1 (Rtf1) is generally considered to be a subunit of the Paf1 complex (PAF1C), a multifunctional protein complex involved in histone modification and transcriptional or posttranscriptional regulation. Rtf1, however, is not stably associated with the PAF1C in most species except Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and its biochemical functions are not well understood. Here, we show that human Rtf1 is a transcription elongation factor that may function independently of the PAF1C. Rtf1 requires "Rtf1 coactivator" activity, which is most likely unrelated to the PAF1C or DSIF, for transcriptional activation in vitro. A mutational study revealed that the Plus3 domain of human Rtf1 is critical for its coactivator-dependent function. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) and chromatin immunoprecipitation studies in HeLa cells showed that Rtf1 and the PAF1C play distinct roles in regulating the expression of a subset of genes. Moreover, contrary to the finding in S. cerevisiae, the PAF1C was apparently recruited to the genes examined in an Rtf1-independent manner. The present study establishes a role for human Rtf1 as a transcription elongation factor and highlights the similarities and differences between the S. cerevisiae and human Rtf1 proteins.
Project description:Polymerase associated factor 1 complex (Paf1C) broadly influences gene expression by regulating chromatin structure and the recruitment of RNA-processing factors during transcription elongation. The Plus3 domain of the Rtf1 subunit mediates Paf1C recruitment to genes by binding a repeating domain within the elongation factor Spt5 (suppressor of Ty). Here we provide a molecular description of this interaction by reporting the structure of human Rtf1 Plus3 in complex with a phosphorylated Spt5 repeat. We find that Spt5 binding is mediated by an extended surface containing phosphothreonine recognition and hydrophobic interfaces that interact with residues outside the Spt5 motif. Changes within these interfaces diminish binding of Spt5 in vitro and chromatin localization of Rtf1 in vivo. The structure reveals the basis for recognition of the repeat motif of Spt5, a key player in the recruitment of gene regulatory factors to RNA polymerase II.
Project description:The stalling of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) at the promoters of many genes, including developmental regulators, stress-responsive genes, and HIVLTR, suggests transcription elongation as a critical regulatory step in addition to initiation. Spt5, the large subunit of the DRB sensitivity-inducing factor (DSIF), represses or activates RNAPII elongation in vitro. How RNAPII elongation is repressed in vivo is not well understood. Here we report that CTR1 and CTR2CT, the two repeat-containing regions constituting the C-terminus of Spt5, play a redundant role in repressing RNAPII elongation in vivo. First, mis-expression of Spt5 lacking CTR1 or CTR2CT is inconsequential, but mis-expression of Spt5 lacking the entire C-terminus (termed NSpt5) dominantly impairs embryogenesis in zebrafish. Second, NSpt5 de-represses the transcription of hsp70-4 in zebrafish embryos and HIVLTR in cultured human cells, which are repressed at the RNAPII elongation step under non-inducible conditions. Third, NSpt5 directly associates with hsp70-4 chromatin in vivo and increases the occupancy of RNAPII, positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), histone H3 Lys 4 trimethylation (H3K4Me3), and surprisingly, the negative elongation factor A (NELF-A) at the locus, indicating a direct action of NSpt5 on the elongation repressed locus. Together, these results reveal a dominant activity of NSpt5 to de-repress RNAPII elongation, and suggest that the C-terminus of Spt5 is critical for repressing RNAPII elongation in vivo.
Project description:RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) undergoes structural changes during the transitions from initiation, elongation, and termination, which are aided by a collection of proteins called elongation factors. NusG/Spt5 is the only elongation factor conserved in all domains of life. Although much information exists about the interactions between NusG/Spt5 and RNA polymerase in prokaryotes, little is known about how the binding of eukaryotic Spt4/5 affects the biochemical activities of RNAPII. We characterized the activities of Spt4/5 and interrogated the structural features of Spt5 required for it to interact with elongation complexes, bind nucleic acids, and promote transcription elongation. The eukaryotic specific regions of Spt5 containing the Kyrpides, Ouzounis, Woese domains are involved in stabilizing the association with the RNAPII elongation complex, which also requires the presence of the nascent transcript. Interestingly, we identify a region within the conserved NusG N-terminal (NGN) domain of Spt5 that contacts the non-template strand of DNA both upstream of RNAPII and in the transcription bubble. Mutating charged residues in this region of Spt5 did not prevent Spt4/5 binding to elongation complexes, but abrogated the cross-linking of Spt5 to DNA and the anti-arrest properties of Spt4/5, thus suggesting that contact between Spt5 (NGN) and DNA is required for Spt4/5 to promote elongation. We propose that the mechanism of how Spt5/NGN promotes elongation is fundamentally conserved; however, the eukaryotic specific regions of the protein evolved so that it can serve as a platform for other elongation factors and maintain its association with RNAPII as it navigates genomes packaged into chromatin.
Project description:Reversible phosphorylation of Pol II and accessory factors helps order the transcription cycle. Here, we define two kinase-phosphatase switches that operate at different points in human transcription. Cdk9/cyclin T1 (P-TEFb) catalyzes inhibitory phosphorylation of PP1 and PP4 complexes that localize to 3' and 5' ends of genes, respectively, and have overlapping but distinct specificities for Cdk9-dependent phosphorylations of Spt5, a factor instrumental in promoter-proximal pausing and elongation-rate control. PP1 dephosphorylates an Spt5 carboxy-terminal repeat (CTR), but not Spt5-Ser666, a site between Kyrpides-Ouzounis-Woese (KOW) motifs 4 and 5, whereas PP4 can target both sites. In vivo, Spt5-CTR phosphorylation decreases as transcription complexes pass the cleavage and polyadenylation signal (CPS) and increases upon PP1 depletion, consistent with a PP1 function in termination first uncovered in yeast. Depletion of PP4-complex subunits increases phosphorylation of both Ser666 and the CTR, and promotes redistribution of promoter-proximally paused Pol II into gene bodies. These results suggest that switches comprising Cdk9 and either PP4 or PP1 govern pause release and the elongation-termination transition, respectively.
Project description:Spt5 is an essential and conserved factor that functions in transcription and co-transcriptional processes. However, many aspects of the requirement for Spt5 in transcription are poorly understood. We have analyzed the consequences of Spt5 depletion in Schizosaccharomyces pombe using four genome-wide approaches. Our results demonstrate that Spt5 is crucial for a normal rate of RNA synthesis and distribution of RNAPII over transcription units. In the absence of Spt5, RNAPII localization changes dramatically, with reduced levels and a relative accumulation over the first ?500 bp, suggesting that Spt5 is required for transcription past a barrier. Spt5 depletion also results in widespread antisense transcription initiating within this barrier region. Deletions of this region alter the distribution of RNAPII on the sense strand, suggesting that the barrier observed after Spt5 depletion is normally a site at which Spt5 stimulates elongation. Our results reveal a global requirement for Spt5 in transcription elongation.