The biogenesis of the large (60S) ribosomal subunit in eukaryotes involves nucleolar, nucleoplasmic, and cytoplasmic steps. The cytoplasmic protein Rei1, found in all eukaryotes, was previously shown to be necessary for the nuclear reimport of 60S subunit export factor Arx1. In this study we investigate the function of Reh1, a protein with high sequence similarity to Rei1. We demonstrate an overlapping function for Reh1 and Rei1 in the cytoplasmic maturation of the 60S subunit that is independent of Arx1 recycling. We observe that strains lacking both Reh1 and Rei1 accumulate salt-labile 60S subunits, suggesting that Reh1/Rei1 is necessary for the cytoplasmic 60S subunit to adopt its mature, stable form.
Allelic forms of DRG1/AFG2 confer resistance to the drug diazaborine, an inhibitor of ribosome biogenesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Our results show that the AAA-ATPase Drg1 is essential for 60S maturation and associates with 60S precursor particles in the cytoplasm. Functional inactivation of Drg1 leads to an increased cytoplasmic localization of shuttling pre-60S maturation factors like Rlp24, Arx1, and Tif6. Surprisingly, Nog1, a nuclear pre-60S factor, was also relocalized to the cytoplasm under these conditions, suggesting that it is a previously unsuspected shuttling preribosomal factor that is exported with the precursor particles and very rapidly reimported. Proteins that became cytoplasmic under drg1 mutant conditions were blocked on pre-60S particles at a step that precedes the association of Rei1, a later-acting preribosomal factor. A similar cytoplasmic accumulation of Nog1 and Rlp24 in pre-60S-bound form could be seen after overexpression of a dominant-negative Drg1 variant mutated in the D2 ATPase domain. We conclude that the ATPase activity of Drg1 is required for the release of shuttling proteins from the pre-60S particles shortly after their nuclear export. This early cytoplasmic release reaction defines a novel step in eukaryotic ribosome maturation.
Arx1 and Rei1 are found on late pre-60S ribosomal particles containing the export adaptor Nmd3. Arx1 is related to methionine aminopeptidases (MetAPs), and Rei1 is a C2H2 zinc finger protein whose function in ribosome biogenesis has not been previously characterized. Arx1 and Rei1 localized predominately to the nucleus and cytoplasm, respectively, but could be coimmunoprecipitated, suggesting that they are transiently in the same 60S complex. arx1Δ mutants showed a modest accumulation of 60S subunits in the nucleus, suggesting that Arx1 enhances 60S export. Deletion of REI1 led to cold sensitivity and redistribution of Arx1 to the cytoplasm, where it remained bound to free 60S subunits. However, deletion of ARX1 or the fusion of enhanced GFP (eGFP) to Rpl25 suppressed the cold sensitivity of an rei1Δ mutant. The presence of eGFP on Rpl25 or its neighboring protein Rpl35 reduced the binding of Arx1 to 60S subunits, suggesting that Arx1 binds to 60S subunits in the vicinity of the exit tunnel. Mutations in Arx1 that disrupted its binding to 60S also suppressed an rei1Δ mutant and restored the normal nuclear localization of Arx1. These results indicate that the cold sensitivity of rei1Δ cells is due to the persistence of Arx1 on 60S subunits in the cytoplasm. Furthermore, these results suggest that Rei1 is needed for release of Arx1 from nascent 60S subunits after export to the cytoplasm but not for the subsequent nuclear import of Arx1.
The P-site of the 60S ribosomal subunit signals to Tif6 via Elf1 during ribosomal maturation, suggesting a quasifunctional check of the integrity of the 60S subunit before the first round of translation.
Eukaryotic ribosomes are preassembled in the nucleus and mature in the cytoplasm. Release of the antiassociation factor Tif6 by the translocase-like guanosine triphosphatase Efl1 is a critical late maturation step. In this paper, we show that a loop of Rpl10 that embraces the P-site transfer ribonucleic acid was required for release of Tif6, 90 Å away. Mutations in this P-site loop blocked 60S maturation but were suppressed by mutations in Tif6 or Efl1. Molecular dynamics simulations of the mutant Efl1 proteins suggest that they promote a conformation change in Efl1 equivalent to changes that elongation factor G and eEF2 undergo during translocation. These results identify molecular signaling from the P-site to Tif6 via Efl1, suggesting that the integrity of the P-site is interrogated during maturation. We propose that Efl1 promotes a functional check of the integrity of the 60S subunit before its first round of translation.
Box C/D snoRNPs, factors essential for ribosome biogenesis, are proposed to be assembled in the nucleoplasm before localizing to the nucleolus. However, recent work demonstrated the involvement of nuclear export factors in this process, suggesting that export may take place. Here we show that there are distinct distributions of U8 pre-snoRNAs and pre-snoRNP complexes in HeLa cell nuclear and cytoplasmic extracts. We observed differential association of nuclear export (PHAX, CRM1, and Ran) factors with complexes in the two extracts, consistent with nucleocytoplasmic transport. Furthermore, we show that the U8 pre-snoRNA in one of the cytoplasmic complexes contains an m3G cap and is associated with the nuclear import factor Snurportin1. Using RNA interference, we show that loss of either PHAX or Snurportin1 results in the incorrect localization of the U8 snoRNA. Our data therefore show that nuclear export and import factors are directly involved in U8 box C/D snoRNP biogenesis. The distinct distribution of U8 pre-snoRNP complexes between the two cellular compartments together with the association of both nuclear import and export factors with the precursor complex suggests that the mammalian U8 snoRNP is exported during biogenesis.
During their biogenesis, 40S ribosomal subunit precursors are exported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, where final maturation occurs. In this study, we show that the protein kinase human Rio2 (hRio2) is part of a late 40S preribosomal particle in human cells. Using a novel 40S biogenesis and export assay, we analyzed the contribution of hRio2 to late 40S maturation. Although hRio2 is not absolutely required for pre-40S export, deletion of its binding site for the export receptor CRM1 decelerated the kinetics of this process. Moreover, in the absence of hRio2, final cytoplasmic 40S maturation is blocked because the recycling of several trans-acting factors and cytoplasmic 18S-E precursor ribosomal RNA (rRNA [pre-rRNA]) processing are defective. Intriguingly, the physical presence of hRio2 but not its kinase activity is necessary for the release of hEnp1 from cytoplasmic 40S precursors. In contrast, hRio2 kinase activity is essential for the recycling of hDim2, hLtv1, and hNob1 as well as for 18S-E pre-rRNA processing. Thus, hRio2 is involved in late 40S maturation at several distinct steps.
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.
We report the characterization of a novel factor, Nob1p (Yor056c), which is essential for the synthesis of 40S ribosome subunits. Genetic depletion of Nob1p strongly inhibits the processing of the 20S pre-rRNA to the mature 18S rRNA, leading to the accumulation of high levels of the 20S pre-rRNA together with novel degradation intermediates. 20S processing occurs within a pre-40S particle after its export from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Consistent with a direct role in this cleavage, Nob1p was shown to be associated with the pre-40S particle and to be present in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm. This suggests that Nob1p accompanies the pre-40S ribosomes during nuclear export. Pre-40S export is not, however, inhibited by depletion of Nob1p.
Nucleolin is a multifunctional phosphoprotein ubiquitously distributed in the nucleolus, nucleus and cytoplasm of the cell. Nucleolin has a bipartite nuclear localization signal sequence and is conserved in animals, plants and yeast. Its levels are correlated with the rate of functional activity of the nucleolus in exponentially growing cells. Nucleolin contains intrinsic DNA and RNA helicase, nucleic-acid-dependent ATPase and self-cleaving activities. It binds RNA through its RNA recognition motifs. It regulates various aspects of DNA and RNA metabolism, chromatin structure, rDNA transcription, rRNA maturation, cytokinesis, nucleogenesis, cell proliferation and growth, the folding, maturation and ribosome assembly and nucleocytoplasmic transport of newly synthesized pre-RNAs. In this review we present an overview on nucleolin, its localization, structure and various functions. We also describe the discovery and important studies of nucleolin in plants.
cytoplasm; helicase; nucleolus; phosphoprotein; ribosome
We previously showed that nuclear export of the large (60S) ribosomal subunit relies on Nmd3 in a Crm1-dependent manner. Recently the general mRNA export factor, the Mtr2/Mex67 heterodimer, was shown to act as an export receptor in parallel with Crm1. These observations raise the possibility that nuclear export of the 60S subunit in Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires multiple export receptors. Here, we show that the previously characterized 60S subunit biogenesis factor, Arx1, also acts as an export receptor for the 60S subunit. We found that deletion of ARX1 was synthetic lethal with nmd3 and mtr2 mutants and was synthetic sick with several nucleoporin mutants. Deletion of ARX1 led to accumulation of pre-60S particles in the nucleus that were enriched for Nmd3, Crm1, Mex67, and Mtr2, suggesting that in the absence of Arx1, 60S export is impaired even though the subunit is loaded with export receptors. Finally, Arx1 interacted with several nucleoporins in yeast two-hybrid as well as in vitro assays. These results show that Arx1 can directly bridge the interaction between the pre-60S particle and the NPC and thus is a third export receptor for the 60S subunit in yeast.
The step by step assembly process from preribosome in the nucleus to translation-competent 60S ribosome subunit in the cytoplasm is revealed (also see Kemmler et al. in this issue).
The ribosome stalk is essential for recruitment of translation factors. In yeast, P0 and Rpl12 correspond to bacterial L10 and L11 and form the stalk base of mature ribosomes, whereas Mrt4 is a nuclear paralogue of P0. In this study, we show that the dual-specificity phosphatase Yvh1 is required for the release of Mrt4 from the pre-60S subunits. Deletion of YVH1 leads to the persistence of Mrt4 on pre-60S subunits in the cytoplasm. A mutation in Mrt4 at the protein–RNA interface bypasses the requirement for Yvh1. Pre-60S subunits associated with Yvh1 contain Rpl12 but lack both Mrt4 and P0. These results suggest a linear series of events in which Yvh1 binds to the pre-60S subunit to displace Mrt4. Subsequently, P0 loads onto the subunit to assemble the mature stalk, and Yvh1 is released. The initial assembly of the ribosome with Mrt4 may provide functional compartmentalization of ribosome assembly in addition to the spatial separation afforded by the nuclear envelope.
The nucleocytoplasmic exchange of macromolecules is mediated by receptors specialized in passage through the nuclear pore complex. The majority of these receptors belong to the importin β protein family, which has 14 members in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nine importins carry various cargos from the cytoplasm into the nucleus, whereas four exportins mediate nuclear export. Kap120 is the only receptor whose transport cargo has not been found previously. Here, we characterize Kap120 as an importin for the ribosome maturation factor Rpf1, which was identified in a two-hybrid screen. Kap120 binds directly to Rpf1 in vitro and is released by Ran-GTP. At least three parallel import pathways exist for Rpf1, since nuclear import is defective in strains with the importins Kap120, Kap114, and Nmd5 deleted. Both kap120 and rpf1 mutants accumulate large ribosomal subunits in the nucleus. The nuclear accumulation of 60S ribosomal subunits in kap120 mutants is abolished upon RPF1 overexpression, indicating that Kap120 does not function in the actual ribosomal export step but rather in import of ribosome maturation factors.
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.
ribosome; ribosome biogenesis; EFL1; NMD3; TIF6
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.
Nucleophosmin (NPM) is a nucleolar phosphoprotein that shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm during the cell cycle. NPM has several interacting partners and diverse cellular functions, including the processing of ribosomal RNA, centrosome duplication and the control of cellular processes to ensure genomic stability. Subcellular localization of NPM appears to be strongly correlated with NPM functions and cell proliferation. NPM is phosphorylated mainly at its central acidic domain by several upstream kinases, and its phosphorylation appears to be involved in regulating its functions in ribosome biogenesis and centrosome duplication. Recent studies suggest that NPM may act as a licensing factor to maintain proper centrosome duplication and that the Ran/CRM1 nucleocytoplasmic complex regulates local trafficking of NPM to centrosomes by interacting through its nuclear export sequence (NES) motif. Here, we provide a brief overview of NPM functions and its roles in human carcinogenesis, and discuss our recent findings related to the potential mechanisms underlying its regulation of centrosome duplication.
Nucleophosmin; Phosphorylation; Centrosome duplication; Ran/CRM1
hRio1 is an atypical protein kinase of the conserved RIO family. Depletion of hRio1 affects the last step of 18S rRNA maturation and causes defects in recycling of trans-acting factors from pre-40S subunits in the cytoplasm. The kinase activity of hRio1 is essential for recycling of the endonuclease hNob1 and its binding partner hDim2 from pre-40S.
RIO proteins form a conserved family of atypical protein kinases. Humans possess three distinct RIO kinases—hRio1, hRio2, and hRio3, of which only hRio2 has been characterized with respect to its role in ribosomal biogenesis. Here we show that both hRio1 and hRio3, like hRio2, are associated with precursors of 40S ribosomal subunits in human cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that depletion of hRio1 by RNA interference affects the last step of 18S rRNA maturation and causes defects in the recycling of several trans-acting factors (hEnp1, hRio2, hLtv1, hDim2/PNO1, and hNob1) from pre-40S subunits in the cytoplasm. Although the effects of hRio1 and hRio2 depletion are similar, we show that the two kinases are not fully interchangeable. Moreover, rescue experiments with a kinase-dead mutant of hRio1 revealed that the kinase activity of hRio1 is essential for the recycling of the endonuclease hNob1 and its binding partner hDim2 from cytoplasmic pre-40S. Kinase-dead hRio1 is trapped on pre-40S particles containing hDim2 and hNob1 but devoid of hEnp1, hLtv1, and hRio2. These data reveal a role of hRio1 in the final stages of cytoplasmic pre-40S maturation.
It has been suggested that the tandemly repeated ribosomal genes of eukaryotes may be subject to a special mechanism of transcriptional enhancement, called Readthrough Enhancement, in which transcription factors are recycled. Recent experiments with the mouse ribosomal genes, although consistent with this possibility, were unable to distinguish between true Readthrough Enhancement and promoter occlusion. To test directly for Readthrough Enhancement, the pre-ribosomal RNA of Xenopus laevis was prematurely terminated within the 18S gene on a circular template. This premature termination was found to reduce the efficiency of pre-ribosomal RNA promotion in cis by 80 to 90%. Since the pre-ribosomal RNA is normally terminated only 213 base pairs upstream of its own initiation site, the results strongly suggest that the recycling of RNA polymerase, or Readthrough Enhancement, is a means by which ribosomal transcription is enhanced in Xenopus laevis.
Subsets of 40S ribosomal subunits are required for initiating rRNA processing, rRNA maturation, and nuclear export.
Our knowledge of the functions of metazoan ribosomal proteins in ribosome synthesis remains fragmentary. Using siRNAs, we show that knockdown of 31 of the 32 ribosomal proteins of the human 40S subunit (ribosomal protein of the small subunit [RPS]) strongly affects pre–ribosomal RNA (rRNA) processing, which often correlates with nucleolar chromatin disorganization. 16 RPSs are strictly required for initiating processing of the sequences flanking the 18S rRNA in the pre-rRNA except at the metazoan-specific early cleavage site. The remaining 16 proteins are necessary for progression of the nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation steps and for nuclear export. Distribution of these two subsets of RPSs in the 40S subunit structure argues for a tight dependence of pre-rRNA processing initiation on the folding of both the body and the head of the forming subunit. Interestingly, the functional dichotomy of RPS proteins reported in this study is correlated with the mutation frequency of RPS genes in Diamond-Blackfan anemia.
Ribosome synthesis involves the coordinated folding and processing of pre-rRNAs with assembly of ribosomal proteins. In eukaryotes, these events are facilitated by trans-acting factors that propel ribosome maturation from the nucleolus to the cytoplasm. However, there is a gap in understanding how ribosomal proteins configure pre-ribosomes in vivo to enable processing to occur. Here, we have examined the role of adjacent yeast r-proteins L17, L35 and L37 in folding and processing of pre-rRNAs, and binding of other proteins within assembling ribosomes. These three essential ribosomal proteins, which surround the polypeptide exit tunnel, are required for 60S subunit formation as a consequence of their role in removal of the ITS2 spacer from 27SB pre-rRNA. L17-, L35- and L37-depleted cells exhibit turnover of aberrant pre-60S assembly intermediates. Although the structure of ITS2 does not appear to be grossly affected in their absence, these three ribosomal proteins are necessary for efficient recruitment of factors required for 27SB pre-rRNA processing, namely, Nsa2 and Nog2, which associate with pre-60S ribosomal particles containing 27SB pre-rRNAs. Altogether, these data support that L17, L35 and L37 are specifically required for a recruiting step immediately preceding removal of ITS2.
P68 RNA helicase is a prototypical DEAD box RNA helicase. The protein plays a very important role in early organ development and maturation. In consistence with the function of the protein in transcriptional regulation and pre-mRNA splicing, p68 was found to predominately localize in the cell nucleus. However, recent experiments demonstrate a transient cytoplasmic localization of the protein. We report here that p68 shuttles between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. The nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of p68 is mediated by two nuclear localization signal (NLS) and two nuclear exporting signal (NES) sequence elements. Our experiments reveal that p68 shuttles via a classical RanGTPase dependent pathway.
P68 RNA helicase; Nucleocytoplasm Shuttle; NLS; NES; DEAD-box
Transport of protein and RNA cargoes between the nucleus and cytoplasm (nucleocytoplasmic transport) is vital for a variety of cellular functions. The studies of kinetics involved in such processes have been hindered by the lack of quantitative tools for measurement of the nuclear and cytosolic fractions of an intracellular protein at the single cell level for a cell population. In this report, we describe using a novel method, microfluidic electroporative flow cytometry, to study kinetics of nucleocytoplasmic transport of an important transcription factor NF-κB. With data collected from single cells, we quantitatively characterize the population-averaged kinetic parameters such as the rate constants and apparent activation barrier for NF-κB transport. Our data demonstrate that NF-κB nucleocytoplasmic transport fits first-order kinetics very well and is a fairly reversible process governed by equilibrium thermodynamics.
The effect of paromomycin on the interaction of ribosomal subunits was studied. Paromomycin inhibited the antiassociation activity of initiation factor 3 (IF3). Furthermore, ribosomal subunits were associated to form 70S ribosomes by paromomycin even in the presence of 1 mM Mg2+. Paromomycin did not inhibit the binding of IF3 to the 30S ribosomal subunits. On the other hand, IF3 bound to the 30S subunits was expelled by paromomycin-induced subunit association (70S formation). These results indicate that the stabilization of 70S ribosomes by paromomycin may in part be responsible for its inhibitory effects on translocation and ribosome recycling.
Communication between the cytoplasm and the nucleus is a fundamental feature shared by both plant and animal cells. Cellular factors involved in the transport of macromolecules through the nuclear envelope, including nucleoporins, importins and Ran-GTP related components, are conserved among a variety of eukaryotic systems. Interestingly, mutations in these nuclear components compromise resistance signaling, illustrating the importance of nucleocytoplasmic trafficking in plant innate immunity. Indeed, spatial restriction of defense regulators by the nuclear envelope and stimulus-induced nuclear translocation constitute an important level of defense-associated gene regulation in plants. A significant number of effectors from different microbial pathogens are targeted to the plant cell nucleus. In addition, key host factors, including resistance proteins, immunity components, transcription factors and transcriptional regulators shuttle between the cytoplasm and the nucleus, and their level of nuclear accumulation determines the output of the defense response, further confirming the crucial role played by the nucleus during the interaction between plants and pathogens. Here, we discuss recent findings that situate the nucleus at the frontline of the mutual recognition between plants and invading microbes.
NES; NLS; nuclear pore complex; plant immunity; protein translocation
Nuclear export of mRNAs and pre-ribosomal subunits (pre40S and pre60S) is fundamental to all eukaryotes. While genetic approaches in budding yeast have identified bona fide export factors for mRNAs and pre60S subunits, little is known regarding nuclear export of pre40S subunits. The yeast heterodimeric transport receptor Mex67-Mtr2 (TAP-p15 in humans) binds mRNAs and pre60S subunits in the nucleus and facilitates their passage through the nuclear pore complex (NPC) into the cytoplasm by interacting with Phe-Gly (FG)-rich nucleoporins that line its transport channel. By exploiting a combination of genetic, cell-biological, and biochemical approaches, we uncovered an unanticipated role of Mex67-Mtr2 in the nuclear export of 40S pre-ribosomes. We show that recruitment of Mex67-Mtr2 to pre40S subunits requires loops emanating from its NTF2-like domains and that the C-terminal FG-rich nucleoporin interacting UBA-like domain within Mex67 contributes to the transport of pre40S subunits to the cytoplasm. Remarkably, the same loops also recruit Mex67-Mtr2 to pre60S subunits and to the Nup84 complex, the respective interactions crucial for nuclear export of pre60S subunits and mRNAs. Thus Mex67-Mtr2 is a unique transport receptor that employs a common interaction surface to participate in the nuclear export of both pre-ribosomal subunits and mRNAs. Mex67-Mtr2 could engage a regulatory crosstalk among the three major export pathways for optimal cellular growth and proliferation.
Eukaryotic pre-ribosomal subunits (pre40S and pre60S) are one of the largest RNA containing cargos that are transported from the nucleus through the nuclear pore complex (NPC) into the cytoplasm. While genetic approaches in budding yeast have identified bona fide export factors for pre60S subunits, little is known regarding nuclear export of pre40S subunits. The conserved transport receptor Mex67-Mtr2 (TAP-p15 in humans) binds mRNAs and pre60S subunits in the nucleus, and facilitates their passage through the NPC, by interacting with Phe-Gly (FG)-rich nucleoporins that line its transport channel. Here, we report an additional role of Mex67-Mtr2. We show that Mex67-Mtr2 binds pre40S subunits via loops present on its NTF2-like domains and that the C-terminal FG-rich nucleoporin interacting UBA-like domain within Mex67 contributes to the transport of pre40S subunits to the cytoplasm. Remarkably, the same loops of Mex67-Mtr2 also contribute to the nuclear export of pre60S subunits and mRNAs. Thus, the transport receptor Mex67-Mtr2 could employ a common interaction surface to engage a regulatory crosstalk among the three major export pathways.
Eukaryotic ribosome biogenesis requires the function of a large number of trans-acting factors which interact transiently with the nascent pre-rRNA and dissociate as the ribosomal subunits proceed to maturation and export to the cytoplasm. Loss-of-function mutations in human trans-acting factors or ribosome components may lead to genetic syndromes. In a previous study, we have shown association between the SBDS (Shwachman–Bodian–Diamond syndrome) and NIP7 proteins and that downregulation of SBDS in HEK293 affects gene expression at the transcriptional and translational levels. In this study, we show that downregulation of NIP7 affects pre-rRNA processing, causing an imbalance of the 40S/60S subunit ratio. We also identified defects at the pre-rRNA processing level with a decrease of the 34S pre-rRNA concentration and an increase of the 26S and 21S pre-rRNA concentrations, indicating that processing at site 2 is particularly slower in NIP7-depleted cells and showing that NIP7 is required for maturation of the 18S rRNA. The NIP7 protein is restricted to the nuclear compartment and co-sediments with complexes with molecular masses in the range of 40S–80S, suggesting an association to nucleolar pre-ribosomal particles. Downregulation of NIP7 affects cell proliferation, consistently with an important role for NIP7 in rRNA biosynthesis in human cells.