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1.  Yvh1 is required for a late maturation step in the 60S biogenesis pathway 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;186(6):863-880.
The step by step assembly process from preribosome in the nucleus to translation-competent 60S ribosome subunit in the cytoplasm is revealed (also see Lo et al. in this issue).
Before entering translation, preribosomal particles undergo sequential late maturation steps. In the case of pre-60S particles, these steps involve the release of shuttling maturation factors and transport receptors. In this study, we report a new maturation step in the 60S biogenesis pathway in budding yeast. We show that efficient release of the nucleolar/nuclear ribosomal-like protein Mrt4 (homologous to the acidic ribosomal P-protein Rpp0) from pre-60S particles requires the highly conserved protein Yvh1, which associates only with late pre-60S particles. Cell biological and biochemical analyses reveal that Mrt4 fails to dissociate from late pre-60S particles in yvh1Δ cells, inducing a delay in nuclear pre–ribosomal RNA processing and a pre-60S export defect in yvh1Δ cells. Moreover, we have isolated gain of function alleles of Mrt4 that specifically bypass the requirement for Yvh1 and rescue all yvh1Δ-associated phenotypes. Together, our data suggest that Yvh1-mediated release of Mrt4 precedes cytoplasmic loading of Rpp0 on pre-60S particles and is an obligatory late step toward construction of translation-competent 60S subunits.
PMCID: PMC2753168  PMID: 19797079
2.  Role and dynamics of the ribosomal protein P0 and its related trans-acting factor Mrt4 during ribosome assembly in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(22):7519-7532.
Mrt4 is a nucleolar component of the ribosome assembly machinery that shares notable similarity and competes for binding to the 25S rRNA GAR domain with the ribosomal protein P0. Here, we show that loss of function of either P0 or Mrt4 results in a deficit in 60S subunits, which is apparently due to impaired rRNA processing of 27S precursors. Mrt4, which shuttles between the nucleus and the cytoplasm, defines medium pre-60S particles. In contrast, P0 is absent from medium but present in late/cytoplasmic pre-60S complexes. The absence of Mrt4 notably increased the amount of P0 in nuclear Nop7–TAP complexes and causes P0 assembly to medium pre-60S particles. Upon P0 depletion, Mrt4 is relocated to the cytoplasm within aberrant 60S subunits. We conclude that Mrt4 controls the position and timing of P0 assembly. In turn, P0 is required for the release of Mrt4 and exchanges with this factor at the cytoplasm. Our results also suggest other P0 assembly alternatives.
PMCID: PMC2794172  PMID: 19789271
3.  Carboxy terminal modifications of the P0 protein reveal alternative mechanisms of nuclear ribosomal stalk assembly 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(18):8628-8636.
The P0 scaffold protein of the ribosomal stalk is mainly incorporated into pre-ribosomes in the cytoplasm where it replaces the assembly factor Mrt4. In analyzing the role of the P0 carboxyl terminal domain (CTD) during ribosomal stalk assembly, we found that its complete removal yields a protein that is functionally similar to Mrt4, whereas a chimeric Mrt4 containing the P0 CTD behaves more like P0. Deleting the P0 binding sites for the P1 and P2 proteins provoked the nuclear accumulation of P0ΔAB induced by either leptomycin B-mediated blockage of nuclear export or Mrt4 deletion. This effect was reversed by removing P1/P2 from the cell, whereas nuclear accumulation was restored on reintroduction of these proteins. Together, these results indicate that the CTD determines the function of the P0 in stalk assembly. Moreover, they indicate that in cells lacking Mrt4, P0 and its stalk base partner, the L12 protein, bind to pre-ribosomes in the nucleus, a complex that is then exported to the cytoplasm by a mechanism assisted by the interaction with P1/P2 proteins. Furthermore, in wild-type cells, the presence of nuclear pre-ribosome complexes containing P0 but not L12 is compatible with the existence of an alternative stalk assembly process.
PMCID: PMC3794597  PMID: 23880660
4.  The Dual-Specificity Protein Phosphatase Yvh1p Regulates Sporulation, Growth, and Glycogen Accumulation Independently of Catalytic Activity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae via the Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase Cascade 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(12):3517-3528.
Yvh1p, a dual-specific protein phosphatase induced specifically by nitrogen starvation, regulates cell growth as well as initiation and completion of sporulation. We demonstrate that yvh1 disruption mutants are also unable to accumulate glycogen in stationary phase. A catalytically inactive variant of yvh1 (C117S) and a DNA fragment encoding only the Yvh1p C-terminal 159 amino acids (which completely lacks the phosphatase domain) complement all three phenotypes as well as the wild-type allele; no complementation occurs with a fragment encoding only the C-terminal 74 amino acids. These observations argue that phosphatase activity is not required for the Yvh1p functions we measured. Mutations which decrease endogenous cyclic AMP (cAMP) levels partially suppress the sporulation and glycogen accumulation defects. In addition, reporter gene expression supported by a DRR2 promoter fragment, containing two stress response elements known to respond to cAMP-protein kinase A, decreases in a yvh1 disruption mutant. Therefore, our results identify three cellular processes that both require Yvh1p and respond to alterations in cAMP, and they lead us to suggest that Yvh1p may be a participant in and/or a contributor to regulation of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase cascade. The fact that decreasing the levels of cAMP alleviates the need for Yvh1p function supports this suggestion.
PMCID: PMC101947  PMID: 10852885
5.  Final Pre-40S Maturation Depends on the Functional Integrity of the 60S Subunit Ribosomal Protein L3 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(3):e1004205.
Ribosomal protein L3 is an evolutionarily conserved protein that participates in the assembly of early pre-60S particles. We report that the rpl3[W255C] allele, which affects the affinity and function of translation elongation factors, impairs cytoplasmic maturation of 20S pre-rRNA. This was not seen for other mutations in or depletion of L3 or other 60S ribosomal proteins. Surprisingly, pre-40S particles containing 20S pre-rRNA form translation-competent 80S ribosomes, and translation inhibition partially suppresses 20S pre-rRNA accumulation. The GTP-dependent translation initiation factor Fun12 (yeast eIF5B) shows similar in vivo binding to ribosomal particles from wild-type and rpl3[W255C] cells. However, the GTPase activity of eIF5B failed to stimulate processing of 20S pre-rRNA when assayed with ribosomal particles purified from rpl3[W255C] cells. We conclude that L3 plays an important role in the function of eIF5B in stimulating 3′ end processing of 18S rRNA in the context of 80S ribosomes that have not yet engaged in translation. These findings indicate that the correct conformation of the GTPase activation region is assessed in a quality control step during maturation of cytoplasmic pre-ribosomal particles.
Author Summary
Recent progress has provided us with detailed knowledge of the structure and function of eukaryotic ribosomes. However, our understanding of the intricate processes of pre-ribosome assembly and the transition to translation-competent ribosomal subunits remains incomplete. The early and intermediate steps of ribosome assembly occur successively in the nucleolus and nucleoplasm. The pre-ribosomal subunits are then exported to the cytoplasm where final maturation steps, notably including D site cleavage of the 20S pre-rRNA to mature 18S rRNA, confer subunit joining and translation competence. Recent evidence indicates that pre-40S subunits are subject to a quality control step involving the GTP-dependent translation initiation factor eIF5B/Fun12, in the context of 80S-like ribosomes. Here, we demonstrate the involvement of 60S subunits in promoting 20S pre-rRNA cleavage. In particular, we show that a specific point mutation in the 60S subunit ribosomal protein L3 (rpl3[W255C]) leads to the accumulation of pre-40S particles that contain the 20S pre-rRNA but are translation-competent. Notably, this mutation prevents the stimulation of the GTPase activity of eIF5B/Fun12, which is also required for site D cleavage. We conclude that L3 plays an important role in regulating the function of eIF5B/Fun12 during 3′ end processing of 18S rRNA at site D, in the context of 80S ribosomes that have not yet engaged in translation.
PMCID: PMC3945201  PMID: 24603549
6.  Mak5 and Ebp2 Act Together on Early Pre-60S Particles and Their Reduced Functionality Bypasses the Requirement for the Essential Pre-60S Factor Nsa1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82741.
Ribosomes are the molecular machines that translate mRNAs into proteins. The synthesis of ribosomes is therefore a fundamental cellular process and consists in the ordered assembly of 79 ribosomal proteins (r-proteins) and four ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) into a small 40S and a large 60S ribosomal subunit that form the translating 80S ribosomes. Most of our knowledge concerning this dynamic multi-step process comes from studies with the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which have shown that assembly and maturation of pre-ribosomal particles, as they travel from the nucleolus to the cytoplasm, relies on a multitude (>200) of biogenesis factors. Amongst these are many energy-consuming enzymes, including 19 ATP-dependent RNA helicases and three AAA-ATPases. We have previously shown that the AAA-ATPase Rix7 promotes the release of the essential biogenesis factor Nsa1 from late nucleolar pre-60S particles. Here we show that mutant alleles of genes encoding the DEAD-box RNA helicase Mak5, the C/D-box snoRNP component Nop1 and the rRNA-binding protein Nop4 bypass the requirement for Nsa1. Interestingly, dominant-negative alleles of RIX7 retain their phenotype in the absence of Nsa1, suggesting that Rix7 may have additional nuclear substrates besides Nsa1. Mak5 is associated with the Nsa1 pre-60S particle and synthetic lethal screens with mak5 alleles identified the r-protein Rpl14 and the 60S biogenesis factors Ebp2, Nop16 and Rpf1, which are genetically linked amongst each other. We propose that these ’Mak5 cluster’ factors orchestrate the structural arrangement of a eukaryote-specific 60S subunit surface composed of Rpl6, Rpl14 and Rpl16 and rRNA expansion segments ES7L and ES39L. Finally, over-expression of Rix7 negatively affects growth of mak5 and ebp2 mutant cells both in the absence and presence of Nsa1, suggesting that Rix7, at least when excessively abundant, may act on structurally defective pre-60S subunits and may subject these to degradation.
PMCID: PMC3846774  PMID: 24312670
7.  Defining the pathway of cytoplasmic maturation of the 60S ribosomal subunit 
Molecular cell  2010;39(2):196-208.
In eukaryotic cells the final maturation of ribosomes occurs in the cytoplasm, where trans-acting factors are removed and critical ribosomal proteins are added for functionality. Here, we have carried out a comprehensive analysis of cytoplasmic maturation, ordering the known steps into a coherent pathway. Maturation is initiated by the ATPase Drg1. Downstream, assembly of the ribosome stalk is essential for the release of Tif6. The stalk recruits GTPases during translation. Because the GTPase Efl1, which is required for the release of Tif6, resembles the translation elongation factor eEF2, we suggest that assembly of the stalk recruits Efl1, triggering a step in 60S biogenesis that mimics aspects of translocation. Efl1 could thereby provide a mechanism to functionally check the nascent subunit. Finally, the release of Tif6 is a prerequisite for the release of the nuclear export adapter Nmd3. Establishing this pathway provides an important conceptual framework for understanding ribosome maturation.
PMCID: PMC2925414  PMID: 20670889
ribosome; ribosome biogenesis; EFL1; NMD3; TIF6
8.  The amino terminal domain from Mrt4 protein can functionally replace the RNA binding domain of the ribosomal P0 protein 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(11):3514-3521.
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Mrt4 protein is a component of the ribosome assembly machinery that shares notable sequence homology to the P0 ribosomal stalk protein. Here, we show that these proteins can not bind simultaneously to ribosomes and moreover, a chimera containing the first 137 amino acids of Mrt4 and the last 190 amino acids from P0 can partially complement the absence of the ribosomal protein in a conditional P0 null mutant. This chimera is associated with ribosomes isolated from this strain when grown under restrictive conditions, although its binding is weaker than that of P0. These ribosomes contain less P1 and P2 proteins, the other ribosomal stalk components. Similarly, the interaction of the L12 protein, a stalk base component, is affected by the presence of the chimera. These results indicate that Mrt4 and P0 bind to the same site in the 25S rRNA. Indeed, molecular dynamics simulations using modelled Mrt4 and P0 complexes provide further evidence that both proteins bind similarly to rRNA, although their interaction with L12 displays notable differences. Together, these data support the participation of the Mrt4 protein in the assembly of the P0 protein into the ribosome and probably, that also of the L12 protein.
PMCID: PMC2699499  PMID: 19346338
9.  Yeast ribosomal protein L7 and its homologue Rlp7 are simultaneously present at distinct sites on pre-60S ribosomal particles 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(20):9461-9470.
Ribosome biogenesis requires >300 assembly factors in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ribosome assembly factors Imp3, Mrt4, Rlp7 and Rlp24 have sequence similarity to ribosomal proteins S9, P0, L7 and L24, suggesting that these pre-ribosomal factors could be placeholders that prevent premature assembly of the corresponding ribosomal proteins to nascent ribosomes. However, we found L7 to be a highly specific component of Rlp7-associated complexes, revealing that the two proteins can bind simultaneously to pre-ribosomal particles. Cross-linking and cDNA analysis experiments showed that Rlp7 binds to the ITS2 region of 27S pre-rRNAs, at two sites, in helix III and in a region adjacent to the pre-rRNA processing sites C1 and E. However, L7 binds to mature 25S and 5S rRNAs and cross-linked predominantly to helix ES7Lb within 25S rRNA. Thus, despite their predicted structural similarity, our data show that Rlp7 and L7 clearly bind at different positions on the same pre-60S particles. Our results also suggest that Rlp7 facilitates the formation of the hairpin structure of ITS2 during 60S ribosomal subunit maturation.
PMCID: PMC3814368  PMID: 23945946
10.  Functional analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae ribosomal protein Rpl3p in ribosome synthesis 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(12):4203-4213.
Ribosome synthesis in eukaryotes requires a multitude of trans-acting factors. These factors act at many steps as the pre-ribosomal particles travel from the nucleolus to the cytoplasm. In contrast to the well-studied trans-acting factors, little is known about the contribution of the ribosomal proteins to ribosome biogenesis. Herein, we have analysed the role of ribosomal protein Rpl3p in 60S ribosomal subunit biogenesis. In vivo depletion of Rpl3p results in a deficit in 60S ribosomal subunits and the appearance of half-mer polysomes. This phenotype is likely due to the instability of early and intermediate pre-ribosomal particles, as evidenced by the low steady-state levels of 27SA3, 27SBS and 7SL/S precursors. Furthermore, depletion of Rpl3p impairs the nucleocytoplasmic export of pre-60S ribosomal particles. Interestingly, flow cytometry analysis indicates that Rpl3p-depleted cells arrest in the G1 phase. Altogether, we suggest that upon depletion of Rpl3p, early assembly of 60S ribosomal subunits is aborted and subsequent steps during their maturation and export prevented.
PMCID: PMC1919493  PMID: 17569673
11.  Rrp12 and the Exportin Crm1 Participate in Late Assembly Events in the Nucleolus during 40S Ribosomal Subunit Biogenesis 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(12):e1004836.
During the biogenesis of small ribosomal subunits in eukaryotes, the pre-40S particles formed in the nucleolus are rapidly transported to the cytoplasm. The mechanisms underlying the nuclear export of these particles and its coordination with other biogenesis steps are mostly unknown. Here we show that yeast Rrp12 is required for the exit of pre-40S particles to the cytoplasm and for proper maturation dynamics of upstream 90S pre-ribosomes. Due to this, in vivo elimination of Rrp12 leads to an accumulation of nucleoplasmic 90S to pre-40S transitional particles, abnormal 35S pre-rRNA processing, delayed elimination of processing byproducts, and no export of intermediate pre-40S complexes. The exportin Crm1 is also required for the same pre-ribosome maturation events that involve Rrp12. Thus, in addition to their implication in nuclear export, Rrp12 and Crm1 participate in earlier biosynthetic steps that take place in the nucleolus. Our results indicate that, in the 40S subunit synthesis pathway, the completion of early pre-40S particle assembly, the initiation of byproduct degradation and the priming for nuclear export occur in an integrated manner in late 90S pre-ribosomes.
Author Summary
During the synthesis of small ribosomal subunits in eukaryotes, the pre-40S particles formed in the nucleolus are rapidly transported to the cytoplasm. The mechanisms involved in the nuclear export of these particles and its coordination with other steps of the 40S synthesis pathway are mostly unknown. In this work we studied the function of Rrp12, the only major non-ribosomal factor of nuclear pre-40S particles that does not remain stably associated to them during maturation in the cytoplasm. We demonstrate that Rrp12 is required for the exit of pre-40S particles to the cytoplasm. Remarkably, we also found that Rrp12, together with the Crm1 exportin, participates in processes that occur in early pre-ribosomes in the nucleolus, including the processing of the pre-rRNA and the elimination of processing byproducts. Thus, Rrp12 and Crm1 participate in maturation steps that take place upstream of nuclear export. Our results indicate that, in the 40S subunit synthesis pathway, the completion of early pre-40S particle assembly, the initiation of byproduct degradation and the priming for nuclear export occur in an integrated manner in nucleolar pre-ribosomes.
PMCID: PMC4256259  PMID: 25474739
12.  The Dual-Specificity Protein Phosphatase Yvh1p Acts Upstream of the Protein Kinase Mck1p in Promoting Spore Development in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(17):5219-5224.
Diploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells induce YVH1 expression and enter the developmental pathway, leading to sporulation when starved for nitrogen. We show that yvh1 disruption causes a defect in spore maturation; overexpression of MCK1 or IME1 suppresses this yvh1 phenotype. While mck1 mutations are epistatic to those in yvh1 relative to spore maturation, overexpression of MCK1 does not suppress the yvh1 slow-vegetative-growth phenotype. We conclude that (i) Yvh1p functions earlier than Mck1p and Ime1p in the signal transduction cascade that regulates sporulation and is triggered by nitrogen starvation and (ii) the role of Yvh1p in gametogenesis can be genetically distinguished from its role in vegetative growth.
PMCID: PMC94025  PMID: 10464190
13.  The Conserved Bud20 Zinc Finger Protein Is a New Component of the Ribosomal 60S Subunit Export Machinery 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(24):4898-4912.
The nuclear export of the preribosomal 60S (pre-60S) subunit is coordinated with late steps in ribosome assembly. Here, we show that Bud20, a conserved C2H2-type zinc finger protein, is an unrecognized shuttling factor required for the efficient export of pre-60S subunits. Bud20 associates with late pre-60S particles in the nucleoplasm and accompanies them into the cytoplasm, where it is released through the action of the Drg1 AAA-ATPase. Cytoplasmic Bud20 is then reimported via a Kap123-dependent pathway. The deletion of Bud20 induces a strong pre-60S export defect and causes synthetic lethality when combined with mutant alleles of known pre-60S subunit export factors. The function of Bud20 in ribosome export depends on a short conserved N-terminal sequence, as we observed that mutations or the deletion of this motif impaired 60S subunit export and generated the genetic link to other pre-60S export factors. We suggest that the shuttling Bud20 is recruited to the nascent 60S subunit via its central zinc finger rRNA binding domain to facilitate the subsequent nuclear export of the preribosome employing its N-terminal extension.
PMCID: PMC3510546  PMID: 23045392
14.  NSUN4 Is a Dual Function Mitochondrial Protein Required for Both Methylation of 12S rRNA and Coordination of Mitoribosomal Assembly 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(2):e1004110.
Biogenesis of mammalian mitochondrial ribosomes requires a concerted maturation of both the small (SSU) and large subunit (LSU). We demonstrate here that the m5C methyltransferase NSUN4, which forms a complex with MTERF4, is essential in mitochondrial ribosomal biogenesis as mitochondrial translation is abolished in conditional Nsun4 mouse knockouts. Deep sequencing of bisulfite-treated RNA shows that NSUN4 methylates cytosine 911 in 12S rRNA (m5C911) of the SSU. Surprisingly, NSUN4 does not need MTERF4 to generate this modification. Instead, the NSUN4/MTERF4 complex is required to assemble the SSU and LSU to form a monosome. NSUN4 is thus a dual function protein, which on the one hand is needed for 12S rRNA methylation and, on the other hand interacts with MTERF4 to facilitate monosome assembly. The presented data suggest that NSUN4 has a key role in controlling a final step in ribosome biogenesis to ensure that only the mature SSU and LSU are assembled.
Author Summary
Mitochondria perform a number of essential functions in the cell, including synthesis of ATP via the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system. Normal mitochondrial function requires coordinated expression of two genomes: mitochondria's own genome (mtDNA), which encodes 13 respiratory chain subunits with essential structural and functional roles for the OXPHOS system, and the nuclear genome encoding the remaining ∼80 subunits. The mtDNA-encoded polypeptides are synthesized on mitochondrial ribosomes (mitoribosomes) located in the mitochondrial matrix. Biogenesis, maintenance and regulation of the complex mitochondrial translation apparatus are poorly understood despite its fundamental importance for cellular energy homeostasis. Here, we show that inactivation of the Nsun4 gene, encoding a mitochondrial m5C-methyltransferase, causes embryonic lethality, whereas tissue-specific disruption of Nsun4 in the heart causes cardiomyopathy with mitochondrial dysfunction. By performing sequencing of bisulfite-treated RNA we report that NSUN4 methylates C911 in 12S rRNA of the small ribosomal subunit. Surprisingly, NSUN4 can on its own perform this rRNA modification, whereas interaction with its partner protein MTERF4 is required for assembly of functional ribosomes. NSUN4 thus has dual roles in ribosome maturation and performs an important final quality control step to ensure that only mature mitoribosomal subunits are assembled into functional ribosomes.
PMCID: PMC3916286  PMID: 24516400
15.  Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ribosomal Protein L26 Is Not Essential for Ribosome Assembly and Function 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(16):3228-3241.
Ribosomal proteins play important roles in ribosome biogenesis and function. Here, we study the evolutionarily conserved L26 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which assembles into pre-60S ribosomal particles in the nucle(ol)us. Yeast L26 is one of the many ribosomal proteins encoded by two functional genes. We have disrupted both genes; surprisingly, the growth of the resulting rpl26 null mutant is apparently identical to that of the isogenic wild-type strain. The absence of L26 minimally alters 60S ribosomal subunit biogenesis. Polysome analysis revealed the appearance of half-mers. Analysis of pre-rRNA processing indicated that L26 is mainly required to optimize 27S pre-rRNA maturation, without which the release of pre-60S particles from the nucle(ol)us is partially impaired. Ribosomes lacking L26 exhibit differential reactivity to dimethylsulfate in domain I of 25S/5.8S rRNAs but apparently are able to support translation in vivo with wild-type accuracy. The bacterial homologue of yeast L26, L24, is a primary rRNA binding protein required for 50S ribosomal subunit assembly in vitro and in vivo. Our results underscore potential differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic ribosome assembly. We discuss the reasons why yeast L26 plays such an apparently nonessential role in the cell.
PMCID: PMC3434550  PMID: 22688513
16.  A Protein Inventory of Human Ribosome Biogenesis Reveals an Essential Function of Exportin 5 in 60S Subunit Export 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(10):e1000522.
A systematic search for human ribosome biogenesis factors shows conservation of many aspects of eukaryotic ribosome synthesis with the well-studied process in yeast and identifies an export route of 60S subunits that is specific for higher eukaryotes.
The assembly of ribosomal subunits in eukaryotes is a complex, multistep process so far mostly studied in yeast. In S. cerevisiae, more than 200 factors including ribosomal proteins and trans-acting factors are required for the ordered assembly of 40S and 60S ribosomal subunits. To date, only few human homologs of these yeast ribosome synthesis factors have been characterized. Here, we used a systematic RNA interference (RNAi) approach to analyze the contribution of 464 candidate factors to ribosomal subunit biogenesis in human cells. The screen was based on visual readouts, using inducible, fluorescent ribosomal proteins as reporters. By performing computer-based image analysis utilizing supervised machine-learning techniques, we obtained evidence for a functional link of 153 human proteins to ribosome synthesis. Our data show that core features of ribosome assembly are conserved from yeast to human, but differences exist for instance with respect to 60S subunit export. Unexpectedly, our RNAi screen uncovered a requirement for the export receptor Exportin 5 (Exp5) in nuclear export of 60S subunits in human cells. We show that Exp5, like the known 60S exportin Crm1, binds to pre-60S particles in a RanGTP-dependent manner. Interference with either Exp5 or Crm1 function blocks 60S export in both human cells and frog oocytes, whereas 40S export is compromised only upon inhibition of Crm1. Thus, 60S subunit export is dependent on at least two RanGTP-binding exportins in vertebrate cells.
Author Summary
Ribosomes are molecular machines that synthesize proteins and are found in every cell. Each ribosome has a small and a large subunit, each of which is in turn composed of ribosomal RNA and many ribosomal proteins. In eukaryotic cells, the generation of these ribosomal subunits is a complex process requiring the participation of hundreds of factors. Originating from the nucleolus (a nuclear region specialized in ribosome synthesis) immature ribosomal subunits pass through the nuclear interior and are exported to the cytoplasm, where their assembly is finalized. In recent years, it has become apparent that defects in ribosome production are associated with human diseases, but our knowledge about this fundamental process is largely based on knowledge derived from yeast, a unicellular eukaryote. We set out to systematically identify factors involved in making ribosomes in human cells by individually depleting around 500 different cellular proteins. Using microscopic analysis, we identified approximately 150 human ribosome synthesis factors, thereby significantly extending our knowledge about human ribosome biogenesis. Our dataset not only revealed many evolutionarily conserved aspects of this essential cellular process but also led us to characterize an export route for the large ribosomal subunit that is specific for higher eukaryotic cells.
PMCID: PMC2964341  PMID: 21048991
17.  LAS1L interacts with the mammalian Rix1 complex to regulate ribosome biogenesis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(4):716-728.
ETOC: Ribosome synthesis is a multistep process initiated in the nucleolus with the transcription of a precursor rRNA that is subjected to a series of modification and processing steps to generate the mature rRNA. In this paper, we describe a novel 60S ribosome biogenesis complex associating with LAS1L that controls rRNA processing and synthesis of the 28S rRNA.
The coordination of RNA polymerase I transcription with pre-rRNA processing, preribosomal particle assembly, and nuclear export is a finely tuned process requiring the concerted actions of a number of accessory factors. However, the exact functions of some of these proteins and how they assemble in subcomplexes remain poorly defined. LAS1L was first described as a nucleolar protein required for maturation of the 60S preribosomal subunit. In this paper, we demonstrate that LAS1L interacts with PELP1, TEX10, and WDR18, the mammalian homologues of the budding yeast Rix1 complex, along with NOL9 and SENP3, to form a novel nucleolar complex that cofractionates with the 60S preribosomal subunit. Depletion of LAS1L-associated proteins results in a p53-dependent G1 arrest and leads to defects in processing of the pre-rRNA internal transcribed spacer 2 region. We further show that the nucleolar localization of this complex requires active RNA polymerase I transcription and the small ubiquitin-like modifier–specific protease SENP3. Taken together, our data identify a novel mammalian complex required for 60S ribosomal subunit synthesis, providing further insight into the intricate, yet poorly described, process of ribosome biogenesis in higher eukaryotes.
PMCID: PMC3279398  PMID: 22190735
18.  RpL22e, but not RpL22e-like-PA, is SUMOylated and localizes to the nucleoplasm of Drosophila meiotic spermatocytes 
Nucleus  2013;4(3):241-258.
Duplicated ribosomal protein (Rp) gene families often encode highly similar or identical proteins with redundant or unique roles. Eukaryotic-specific paralogues RpL22e and RpL22e-like-PA are structurally divergent within the N terminus and differentially expressed, suggesting tissue-specific functions. We previously identified RpL22e-like-PA as a testis Rp. Strikingly, RpL22e is detected in immunoblots at its expected molecular mass (m) of 33 kD and at increasing m of ~43–55 kD, suggesting RpL22e post-translational modification (PTM). Numerous PTMs, including N-terminal SUMOylation, are predicted computationally. Based on S2 cell co-immunoprecipitations, bacterial-based SUMOylation assays and in vivo germline-specific RNAi depletion of SUMO, we conclude that RpL22e is a SUMO substrate. Testis-specific PTMs are evident, including a phosphorylated version of SUMOylated RpL22e identified by in vitro phosphatase experiments. In ribosomal profiles from S2 cells, only unconjugated RpL22e co-sediments with active ribosomes, supporting an extra-translational role for SUMOylated RpL22e. Ectopic expression of an RpL22e N-terminal deletion (lacking SUMO motifs) shows that truncated RpL22e co-sediments with polysomes, implying that RpL22e SUMOylation is dispensable for ribosome biogenesis and function. In mitotic germ cells, both paralogues localize within the cytoplasm and nucleolus. However, within meiotic cells, phase contrast microscopy and co-immunohistochemical analysis with nucleolar markers nucleostemin1 and fibrillarin reveals diffuse nucleoplasmic, but not nucleolar RpL22e localization that transitions to a punctate pattern as meiotic cells mature, suggesting an RpL22e role outside of translation. Germline-specific knockdown of SUMO shows that RpL22e nucleoplasmic distribution is sensitive to SUMO levels, as immunostaining becomes more dispersed. Overall, these data suggest distinct male germline roles for RpL22e and RpL22e-like-PA.
PMCID: PMC3720754  PMID: 23778934
RpL22e; RpL22e-like-PA; Drosophila; ribosomal protein paralogues; duplicated ribosomal proteins; SUMOylation; phosphorylation; post-translational modification; male germline
19.  Factors Affecting Nuclear Export of the 60S Ribosomal Subunit In Vivo 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2000;11(11):3777-3789.
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the 60S ribosomal subunit assembles in the nucleolus and then is exported to the cytoplasm, where it joins the 40S subunit for translation. Export of the 60S subunit from the nucleus is known to be an energy-dependent and factor-mediated process, but very little is known about the specifics of its transport. To begin to address this problem, an assay was developed to follow the localization of the 60S ribosomal subunit in S. cerevisiae. Ribosomal protein L11b (Rpl11b), one of the ∼45 ribosomal proteins of the 60S subunit, was tagged at its carboxyl terminus with the green fluorescent protein (GFP) to enable visualization of the 60S subunit in living cells. A panel of mutant yeast strains was screened for their accumulation of Rpl11b–GFP in the nucleus as an indicator of their involvement in ribosome synthesis and/or transport. This panel included conditional alleles of several rRNA-processing factors, nucleoporins, general transport factors, and karyopherins. As predicted, conditional alleles of rRNA-processing factors that affect 60S ribosomal subunit assembly accumulated Rpl11b–GFP in the nucleus. In addition, several of the nucleoporin mutants as well as a few of the karyopherin and transport factor mutants also mislocalized Rpl11b–GFP. In particular, deletion of the previously uncharacterized karyopherin KAP120 caused accumulation of Rpl11b–GFP in the nucleus, whereas ribosomal protein import was not impaired. Together, these data further define the requirements for ribosomal subunit export and suggest a biological function for KAP120.
PMCID: PMC15036  PMID: 11071906
20.  The p21-Activated Protein Kinase Inhibitor Skb15 and Its Budding Yeast Homologue Are 60S Ribosome Assembly Factors▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(8):2897-2909.
Ribosome biogenesis is driven by a large number of preribosomal factors that associate with and dissociate from the preribosomal particles along the maturation pathway. We have previously shown that budding yeast Mak11, whose homologues in other eukaryotes were described as modulating a p21-activated protein kinase function, accumulates in Rlp24-associated pre-60S complexes when their maturation is impeded in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The functional inactivation of WD40 repeat protein Mak11 interfered with the 60S rRNA maturation, led to a cell cycle delay in G1, and blocked green fluorescent protein-tagged Rpl25 in the nucleoli of yeast cells, indicating an early role of Mak11 in ribosome assembly. Surprisingly, Mak11 inactivation also led to a dramatic destabilization of Rlp24. The suppression of the thermosensitive phenotype of a mak11 mutant by RLP24 overexpression and a direct in vitro interaction between Rlp24 and Mak11 suggest that Mak11 acts as an Rlp24 cofactor during early steps of 60S ribosomal subunit assembly. Moreover, we found that Skb15, the Mak11 homologue in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, also associated with preribosomes and affected 60S biogenesis in fission yeast. It is thus likely that the previously observed phenotypes for MAK11 homologues in other eukaryotes are secondary to the main function of these proteins in ribosome formation.
PMCID: PMC1899936  PMID: 17308036
21.  Synthetic Lethality with Conditional dbp6 Alleles Identifies Rsa1p, a Nucleoplasmic Protein Involved in the Assembly of 60S Ribosomal Subunits 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(12):8633-8645.
Dbp6p is an essential putative ATP-dependent RNA helicase that is required for 60S-ribosomal-subunit assembly in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (D. Kressler, J. de la Cruz, M. Rojo, and P. Linder, Mol. Cell. Biol. 18:1855–1865, 1998). To identify factors that are functionally interacting with Dbp6p, we have performed a synthetic lethal screen with conditional dbp6 mutants. Here, we describe the cloning and the phenotypic analysis of the previously uncharacterized open reading frame YPL193W, which we renamed RSA1 (ribosome assembly 1). Rsa1p is not essential for cell viability; however, rsa1 null mutant strains display a slow-growth phenotype, which is exacerbated at elevated temperatures. The rsa1 null allele synthetically enhances the mild growth defect of weak dbp6 alleles and confers synthetic lethality when combined with stronger dbp6 alleles. Polysome profile analysis shows that the absence of Rsa1p results in the accumulation of half-mer polysomes. However, the pool of free 60S ribosomal subunits is only moderately decreased; this is reminiscent of polysome profiles from mutants defective in 60S-to-40S subunit joining. Pulse-chase labeling of pre-rRNA in the rsa1 null mutant strain indicates that formation of the mature 25S rRNA is decreased at the nonpermissive temperature. Interestingly, free 60S ribosomal subunits of a rsa1 null mutant strain that was grown for two generations at 37°C are practically devoid of the 60S-ribosomal-subunit protein Qsr1p/Rpl10p, which is required for joining of 60S and 40S subunits (D. P. Eisinger, F. A. Dick, and B. L. Trumpower, Mol. Cell. Biol. 17:5136–5145, 1997). Moreover, the combination of the Δrsa1 and qsr1-1 mutations leads to a strong synthetic growth inhibition. Finally, a hemagglutinin epitope-tagged Rsa1p localizes predominantly to the nucleoplasm. Together, these results point towards a function for Rsa1p in a late nucleoplasmic step of 60S-ribosomal-subunit assembly.
PMCID: PMC85000  PMID: 10567587
22.  Targeted proteomics reveals compositional dynamics of 60S pre-ribosomes after nuclear export 
A combination of genetic trapping, affinity-capture and selected reaction monitoring mass spectrometry is used to characterize the dynamic proteome of pre-60S ribosomal particles after nuclear export. These results identify Bud20 as a novel shuttling factor for pre-60S export.
Co-enrichment of assembly and transport factors with maturing pre-ribosomal particles can be reliably and rapidly measured by selected reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (SRM-MS).Genetic trapping and affinity-capture combined with SRM-MS reveal the dynamic proteome pre-60S particles after nuclear export.We identified Bud20 as a novel shuttling factor that facilitates nuclear export of pre-60S particles.Our workflow is a versatile discovery tool to dissect the assembly and transport pathways of diverse large macromolecular assemblies.
Construction and intracellular targeting of eukaryotic pre-ribosomal particles involve a multitude of diverse transiently associating trans-acting assembly factors, energy-consuming enzymes, and transport factors. The ability to rapidly and reliably measure co-enrichment of multiple factors with maturing pre-ribosomal particles presents a major biochemical bottleneck towards revealing their function and the precise contribution of >50 energy-consuming steps that drive ribosome assembly. Here, we devised a workflow that combines genetic trapping, affinity-capture, and selected reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (SRM-MS), to overcome this deficiency. We exploited this approach to interrogate the dynamic proteome of pre-60S particles after nuclear export. We uncovered assembly factors that travel with pre-60S particles to the cytoplasm, where they are released before initiating translation. Notably, we identified a novel shuttling factor that facilitates nuclear export of pre-60S particles. Capturing and quantitating protein interaction networks of trapped intermediates of macromolecular complexes by our workflow is a reliable discovery tool to unveil dynamic processes that contribute to their in vivo assembly and transport.
PMCID: PMC3542530  PMID: 23212245
nuclear export; ribosome assembly; selected reaction monitoring mass spectrometry; targeted proteomics
23.  Ribosomal Protein L33 Is Required for Ribosome Biogenesis, Subunit Joining, and Repression of GCN4 Translation▿ † 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(17):5968-5985.
We identified a mutation in the 60S ribosomal protein L33A (rpl33a-G76R) that elicits derepression of GCN4 translation (Gcd− phenotype) by allowing scanning preinitiation complexes to bypass inhibitory upstream open reading frame 4 (uORF4) independently of prior uORF1 translation and reinitiation. At 37°C, rpl33a-G76R confers defects in 60S biogenesis comparable to those produced by the deletion of RPL33A (ΔA). At 28°C, however, the 60S biogenesis defect is less severe in rpl33a-G76R than in ΔA cells, yet rpl33a-G76R confers greater derepression of GCN4 and a larger reduction in general translation. Hence, it appears that rpl33a-G76R has a stronger effect on ribosomal-subunit joining than does a comparable reduction of wild-type 60S levels conferred by ΔA. We suggest that rpl33a-G76R alters the 60S subunit in a way that impedes ribosomal-subunit joining and thereby allows 48S rRNA complexes to abort initiation at uORF4, resume scanning, and initiate downstream at GCN4. Because overexpressing tRNAiMet suppresses the Gcd− phenotype of rpl33a-G76R cells, dissociation of tRNAiMet from the 40S subunit may be responsible for abortive initiation at uORF4 in this mutant. We further demonstrate that rpl33a-G76R impairs the efficient processing of 35S and 27S pre-rRNAs and reduces the accumulation of all four mature rRNAs, indicating an important role for L33 in the biogenesis of both ribosomal subunits.
PMCID: PMC1952170  PMID: 17548477
24.  Rrb1p, a Yeast Nuclear WD-Repeat Protein Involved in the Regulation of Ribosome Biosynthesis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(4):1260-1271.
Ribosome biogenesis is regulated by environmental cues that coordinately modulate the synthesis of ribosomal components and their assembly into functional subunits. We have identified an essential yeast WD-repeat-containing protein, termed Rrb1p, that has a role in both the assembly of the 60S ribosomal subunits and the transcriptional regulation of ribosomal protein (RP) genes. Rrb1p is located in the nucleus and is concentrated in the nucleolus. Its presence is required to maintain normal cellular levels of 60S subunits, 80S ribosomes, and polyribosomes. The function of Rrb1p in ribosome biogenesis appears to be linked to its association with the ribosomal protein rpL3. Immunoprecipitation of Rrb1p from nuclear extracts revealed that it physically interacts with rpL3. Moreover, the overproduction of Rrb1p led to increases in cellular levels of free rpL3 that accumulated in the nucleus together with Rrb1p. The concentration of these proteins within the nucleus was dependent on ongoing protein translation. We also showed that overexpression of RRB1 led to an increase in the expression of RPL3 while all other examined RP genes were unaffected. In contrast, depletion of RRB1 caused an increase in the expression of all RP genes examined except RPL3. These results suggest that Rrb1p regulates RPL3 expression and uncouples it from the coordinated expression of other RP genes.
PMCID: PMC99579  PMID: 11158312
25.  rRNA Maturation in Yeast Cells Depleted of Large Ribosomal Subunit Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(12):e8249.
The structural constituents of the large eukaryotic ribosomal subunit are 3 ribosomal RNAs, namely the 25S, 5.8S and 5S rRNA and about 46 ribosomal proteins (r-proteins). They assemble and mature in a highly dynamic process that involves more than 150 proteins and 70 small RNAs. Ribosome biogenesis starts in the nucleolus, continues in the nucleoplasm and is completed after nucleo-cytoplasmic translocation of the subunits in the cytoplasm. In this work we created 26 yeast strains, each of which conditionally expresses one of the large ribosomal subunit (LSU) proteins. In vivo depletion of the analysed LSU r-proteins was lethal and led to destabilisation and degradation of the LSU and/or its precursors. Detailed steady state and metabolic pulse labelling analyses of rRNA precursors in these mutant strains showed that LSU r-proteins can be grouped according to their requirement for efficient progression of different steps of large ribosomal subunit maturation. Comparative analyses of the observed phenotypes and the nature of r-protein – rRNA interactions as predicted by current atomic LSU structure models led us to discuss working hypotheses on i) how individual r-proteins control the productive processing of the major 5′ end of 5.8S rRNA precursors by exonucleases Rat1p and Xrn1p, and ii) the nature of structural characteristics of nascent LSUs that are required for cytoplasmic accumulation of nascent subunits but are nonessential for most of the nuclear LSU pre-rRNA processing events.
PMCID: PMC2788216  PMID: 20011513

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