GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Approval Date

12-17-2007

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Department

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology

Subjects

Gene Expression; Cell Nucleus; Feedback, Biochemical; Nuclear Proteins; RNA Stability; RNA Precursors; RNA-Binding Proteins; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Academic Dissertations; Dissertations, UMMS

Abstract

mRNA degradation is a fundamental process that controls both the level and the fidelity of gene expression. Using a combination of bioinformatic, genomic, genetic, and molecular biology approaches, we have shown that Edc3p, a yeast mRNA decay factor, controls the stability of the intron-containing YRA1 pre-mRNA. We found that Edc3p-mediated degradation of YRA1 pre-mRNA: 1) is a component of a negative feedback loop involved in the autoregulation of YRA1, 2) takes place in the cytoplasm, 3) is independent of translation, 4) occurs through a deadenylation-independent decapping and 5΄ to 3΄ exonucleotic decay mechanism, and 5) is controlled by specific cis-acting elements and trans-regulatory factors. Cis-regulation of YRA1 pre-mRNA degradation is complicated and precise. Sequences in exon1 inhibit YRA1 pre-mRNA splicing and/or promote pre-mRNA export in a size-dependent but sequence-independent manner. Sequences in the intron dictate the substrate specificity for Edc3p-mediated decay. Five structurally different but functionally interdependent modules were identified in the YRA1 intron. Two modules, designated Edc3p-responsive elements (EREs), are required for triggering an Edc3p-response. Three other modules, designated translational repression elements (TREs), are required for repressing translation of YRA1 pre-mRNA. TREs enhance the efficiency of the response of the EREs to Edc3p by inhibiting translation-dependent nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Trans-regulation of YRA1 pre-mRNA is governed by Yra1p, which inhibits YRA1 pre-mRNA splicing and commits the pre-mRNA to nuclear export, and the RNP export factors, Mex67p and Crm1p, which jointly promote YRA1 pre-mRNA export. Mex67p also appears to interact with sequences in the YRA1 intron to promote translational repression and to enhance the Edc3p response of YRA1 pre-mRNA. 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.

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Copyright is held by the author, with all rights reserved.

 
 

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