Mtr4-like protein coordinates nuclear RNA processing for heterochromatin assembly and for telomere maintenance.
ABSTRACT: The regulation of protein-coding and noncoding RNAs is linked to nuclear processes, including chromatin modifications and gene silencing. However, the mechanisms that distinguish RNAs and mediate their functions are poorly understood. We describe a nuclear RNA-processing network in fission yeast with a core module comprising the Mtr4-like protein, Mtl1, and the zinc-finger protein, Red1. The Mtl1-Red1 core promotes degradation of mRNAs and noncoding RNAs and associates with different proteins to assemble heterochromatin via distinct mechanisms. Mtl1 also forms Red1-independent interactions with evolutionarily conserved proteins named Nrl1 and Ctr1, which associate with splicing factors. Whereas Nrl1 targets transcripts with cryptic introns to form heterochromatin at developmental genes and retrotransposons, Ctr1 functions in processing intron-containing telomerase RNA. Together with our discovery of widespread cryptic introns, including in noncoding RNAs, these findings reveal unique cellular strategies for recognizing regulatory RNAs and coordinating their functions in response to developmental and environmental cues.
Project description:The regulation of protein-coding and noncoding RNAs is linked to nuclear processes including chromatin modifications and gene silencing. However, the mechanisms that distinguish RNAs and mediate their functions are poorly understood. We describe a nuclear RNA processing network in fission yeast with a core module comprising the Mtr4-like protein, Mtl1, and the zinc finger protein Red1. The Mtl1-Red1 core promotes degradation of mRNAs and noncoding RNAs, and associates with different proteins to assemble heterochromatin via distinct mechanisms. Mtl1 also forms Red1-independent interactions with evolutionarily conserved proteins named Nrl1 and Ctr1, which associate with splicing factors. Whereas Nrl1 targets transcripts with cryptic introns to form heterochromatin at developmental genes and retrotransposons, Ctr1 is required to process intron-containing telomerase RNA. Together with our discovery of widespread cryptic introns, including in noncoding RNAs, these findings reveal unique cellular strategies for recognizing regulatory RNAs and coordinating their functions in response to developmental and environmental cues.
Project description:Erh1, the fission yeast homolog of Enhancer of rudimentary, is implicated in meiotic mRNA elimination during vegetative growth, but its function is poorly understood. We show that Erh1 and the RNA-binding protein Mmi1 form a stoichiometric complex, called the Erh1-Mmi1 complex (EMC), to promote meiotic mRNA decay and facultative heterochromatin assembly. To perform these functions, EMC associates with two distinct complexes, Mtl1-Red1 core (MTREC) and CCR4-NOT. Whereas MTREC facilitates assembly of heterochromatin islands coating meiotic genes silenced by the nuclear exosome, CCR4-NOT promotes RNAi-dependent heterochromatin domain (HOOD) formation at EMC-target loci. CCR4-NOT also assembles HOODs at retrotransposons and regulated genes containing cryptic introns. We find that CCR4-NOT facilitates HOOD assembly through its association with the conserved Pir2/ARS2 protein, and also maintains rDNA integrity and silencing by promoting heterochromatin formation. Our results reveal connections among Erh1, CCR4-NOT, Pir2/ARS2, and RNAi, which target heterochromatin to regulate gene expression and protect genome integrity.
Project description:Accurate target recognition in transcript degradation is crucial for regulation of gene expression. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, a number of meiotic transcripts are recognized by a YTH-family RNA-binding protein, Mmi1, and selectively degraded by the nuclear exosome during mitotic growth. Mmi1 forms nuclear foci in mitotically growing cells, and the nuclear exosome colocalizes to such foci. However, it remains elusive how Mmi1 and the nuclear exosome are connected. Here, we show that a complex called MTREC (Mtl1-Red1 core) or NURS (nuclear RNA silencing) that consists of a zinc-finger protein, Red1, and an RNA helicase, Mtl1, is required for the recruitment of the nuclear exosome to Mmi1 foci. Physical interaction between Mmi1 and the nuclear exosome depends on Red1. Furthermore, a chimeric protein involving Mmi1 and Rrp6, which is a nuclear-specific component of the exosome, suppresses the ectopic expression phenotype of meiotic transcripts in red1? cells and mtl1 mutant cells. These data indicate that the primary function of MTREC/NURS in meiotic transcript elimination is to link Mmi1 to the nuclear exosome physically.
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.
Project description:Occupancy profiling of lysine 9 dimethylated histone H3 in fission yeast. Occupancy profiling of Red1, Mtl1, and Mmi1 proteins in fission yeast. Agilent 60mer array was used to analyze DNA recovered by immunoprecipitation of lysine 9 dimethylated histone H3, Red1, Mtl1, and Mmi1 proteins from asynchronous culture of fission yeast.
Project description:The repetitive DNA that constitutes most of the heterochromatic regions of metazoan genomes has hindered the comprehensive analysis of gene content and other functions. We have generated a detailed computational and manual annotation of 24 megabases of heterochromatic sequence in the Release 5 Drosophila melanogaster genome sequence. The heterochromatin contains a minimum of 230 to 254 protein-coding genes, which are conserved in other Drosophilids and more diverged species, as well as 32 pseudogenes and 13 noncoding RNAs. Improved methods revealed that more than 77% of this heterochromatin sequence, including introns and intergenic regions, is composed of fragmented and nested transposable elements and other repeated DNAs. Drosophila heterochromatin contains "islands" of highly conserved genes embedded in these "oceans" of complex repeats, which may require special expression and splicing mechanisms.
Project description:Facultative heterochromatin that changes during cellular differentiation coordinates regulated gene expression, but its assembly is poorly understood. Here, we describe facultative heterochromatin islands in fission yeast and show that their formation at meiotic genes requires factors that eliminate meiotic messenger RNAs (mRNAs) during vegetative growth. Blocking production of meiotic mRNA or loss of RNA elimination factors, including Mmi1 and Red1 proteins, abolishes heterochromatin islands. RNA elimination machinery is enriched at meiotic loci and interacts with Clr4/SUV39h, a methyltransferase involved in heterochromatin assembly. Heterochromatin islands disassemble in response to nutritional signals that induce sexual differentiation. This process involves the antisilencing factor Epe1, the loss of which causes dramatic increase in heterochromatic loci. Our analyses uncover unexpected regulatory roles for mRNA-processing factors that assemble dynamic heterochromatin to modulate gene expression.
Project description:The spliceosome is a complex molecular machine assembled from many components, which catalyzes the removal of introns from mRNA precursors. Our previous study revealed that the Nrl1 (NRDE-2 like 1) protein associates with spliceosome proteins and regulates pre-mRNA splicing and homologous recombination-dependent R-loop formation in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Here, we identify proteins associated with splicing factors Ntr1, Ntr2, Brr2 and Gpl1, a poorly characterized G-patch domain-containing protein required for efficient splicing. This work provides new evidence that Nrl1 and splicing factors physically interact and reveals additional insights into the protein interaction network of the spliceosome. We discuss implications of these findings in the light of recent progress in our understanding of how Nrl1 and splicing factors ensure genome stability.
Project description:RNA interference (RNAi) is a conserved mechanism in which small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) guide the degradation of cognate RNAs, but also promote heterochromatin assembly at repetitive DNA elements such as centromeric repeats. However, the full extent of RNAi functions and its endogenous targets have not been explored. Here we show that, in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, RNAi and heterochromatin factors cooperate to silence diverse loci, including sexual differentiation genes, genes encoding transmembrane proteins, and retrotransposons that are also targeted by the exosome RNA degradation machinery. In the absence of the exosome, transcripts are processed preferentially by the RNAi machinery, revealing siRNA clusters and a corresponding increase in heterochromatin modifications across large domains containing genes and retrotransposons. We show that the generation of siRNAs and heterochromatin assembly by RNAi is triggered by a mechanism involving the canonical poly(A) polymerase Pla1 and an associated RNA surveillance factor Red1, which also activate the exosome. Notably, siRNA production and heterochromatin modifications at these target loci are regulated by environmental growth conditions, and by developmental signals that induce gene expression during sexual differentiation. Our analyses uncover an interaction between RNAi and the exosome that is conserved in Drosophila, and show that differentiation signals modulate RNAi silencing to regulate developmental genes.
Project description:Pre-mRNA splicing is a key process in the regulation of gene expression as reflected by its disruption in various diseases. Previously, we have demonstrated that the spliceosome-associated factor Nrl1 of the fission yeast S. pombe, except of its role in suppression of accumulation of genome-threatening R-loops, also affects splicing and expression of several genes and non-coding RNAs. To uncover the molecular mechanisms regulating the function of Nrl1, we performed here the systematic analysis of its protein-protein interactions at the domain level. We found that N-terminal region of Nrl1 secures the interaction of Nrl1 with ATP-dependent RNA helicase Mtl1 but is incapable of docking of Nrl1 into the spliceosome. Contrary, the C-terminal region of Nrl1 was found to be critical for the interactions of Nrl1 with other splicing factors and the stable binding of Nrl1 into the spliceosome. Importantly, we showed that splicing function of Nrl1 depends on its phosphorylation. Additionally, we identified two amino acid residues of Nrl1, namely S122 and S131, which are directly phosphorylated by Cka1 protein kinase. Together, our results indicate the novel features involved in the regulation of spliceosome-associated factor Nrl1, defined by its domain-dependent interactions and by the CKII-dependent phosphorylation.