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1.  Integrity of the P-site is probed during maturation of the 60S ribosomal subunit 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;197(6):747-759.
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.
PMCID: PMC3373404  PMID: 22689654
2.  Coupled GTPase and remodeling ATPase activities form a checkpoint for ribosome export 
Nature  2013;505(7481):112-116.
Eukaryotic ribosomes are assembled by a complex pathway that extends from the nucleolus to the cytoplasm and is powered by many energy-consuming enzymes 1-3. Nuclear export is a key, irreversible step in pre-ribosome maturation4-8, but mechanisms underlying the timely acquisition of export competence remain poorly understood. Here we show that a conserved GTPase Nug2/Nog2 (called NGP-1, Gnl2 or nucleostemin 2 in human9) plays a key role in the timing of export competence. Nug2 binds the inter-subunit face of maturing, nucleoplasmic pre-60S particles, and the location clashes with the position of Nmd3, a key pre-60S export adaptor10. Nug2 and Nmd3 are not present on the same pre-60S particles, with Nug2 binding prior to Nmd3. Depletion of Nug2 causes premature Nmd3 binding to the pre-60S particles, whereas mutations in the G-domain of Nug2 block Nmd3 recruitment, resulting in severe 60S export defects. Two pre-60S remodeling factors, the Rea1 ATPase and its co-substrate Rsa4, are present on Nug2-associated particles, and both show synthetic lethal interactions with nug2 mutants. Release of Nug2 from pre-60S particles requires both its K+-dependent GTPase activity and the remodeling ATPase activity of Rea1. We conclude that Nug2 is a regulatory GTPase that monitors pre-60S maturation, with release from its placeholder site linked to recruitment of the nuclear export machinery.
PMCID: PMC3880858  PMID: 24240281
3.  The power of AAA-ATPases on the road of pre-60S ribosome maturation — Molecular machines that strip pre-ribosomal particles☆ 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2012;1823(1):92-100.
The biogenesis of ribosomes is a fundamental cellular process, which provides the molecular machines that synthesize all cellular proteins. The assembly of eukaryotic ribosomes is a highly complex multi-step process that requires more than 200 ribosome biogenesis factors, which mediate a broad spectrum of maturation reactions. The participation of many energy-consuming enzymes (e.g. AAA-type ATPases, RNA helicases, and GTPases) in this process indicates that the expenditure of energy is required to drive ribosome assembly. While the precise function of many of these enzymes remains elusive, recent progress has revealed that the three AAA-type ATPases involved in 60S subunit biogenesis are specifically dedicated to the release and recycling of distinct biogenesis factors. In this review, we will highlight how the molecular power of yeast Drg1, Rix7, and Rea1 is harnessed to promote the release of their substrate proteins from evolving pre-60S particles and, where appropriate, discuss possible catalytic mechanisms. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: AAA ATPases: structure and function.
► Structural and functional properties of AAA-ATPases in ribosome biogenesis are summarized. ► The AAA-ATPases Rea1, Rix7 and Drg1 are essential for ribosome biogenesis in yeast. ► Rix7 and Drg1 are related to Cdc48, while Rea1 shares similarity to motor protein dynein. ► Rea1, Rix7 and Drg1 promote the release of biogenesis factors from nucleolar, nucleoplasmic and cytoplasmic pre-60S intermediates. ► The release of maturation factors by AAA-ATPases is critical for downstream maturation of pre-60S particles.
PMCID: PMC3264779  PMID: 21763358
Ribosome assembly; AAA-ATPase; Drg1/Afg2; Rix7/NVL; Rea1/Mdn1/Midasin
4.  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
5.  Cytoplasmic Recycling of 60S Preribosomal Factors Depends on the AAA Protein Drg1▿ † 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(19):6581-6592.
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.
PMCID: PMC2099225  PMID: 17646390
6.  Hierarchical recruitment into nascent ribosomes of assembly factors required for 27SB pre-rRNA processing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(17):8646-8661.
To better define the roles of assembly factors required for eukaryotic ribosome biogenesis, we have focused on one specific step in maturation of yeast 60 S ribosomal subunits: processing of 27SB pre-ribosomal RNA. At least 14 assembly factors, the ‘B-factor’ proteins, are required for this step. These include most of the major functional classes of assembly factors: RNA-binding proteins, scaffolding protein, DEAD-box ATPases and GTPases. We have investigated the mechanisms by which these factors associate with assembling ribosomes. Our data establish a recruitment model in which assembly of the B-factors into nascent ribosomes ultimately leads to the recruitment of the GTPase Nog2. A more detailed analysis suggests that this occurs in a hierarchical manner via two largely independent recruiting pathways that converge on Nog2. Understanding recruitment has allowed us to better determine the order of association of all assembly factors functioning in one step of ribosome assembly. Furthermore, we have identified a novel subcomplex composed of the B-factors Nop2 and Nip7. Finally, we identified a means by which this step in ribosome biogenesis is regulated in concert with cell growth via the TOR protein kinase pathway. Inhibition of TOR kinase decreases association of Rpf2, Spb4, Nog1 and Nog2 with pre-ribosomes.
PMCID: PMC3458554  PMID: 22735702
7.  Ribosome stalk assembly requires the dual-specificity phosphatase Yvh1 for the exchange of Mrt4 with P0 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;186(6):849-862.
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.
PMCID: PMC2753163  PMID: 19797078
8.  Retention of OsNMD3 in the cytoplasm disturbs protein synthesis efficiency and affects plant development in rice 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(12):3055-3069.
Trapping OsNMD3 in the cytoplasm by overexpression of the truncated nuclear localization sequence form in rice alters ribosome assembly and protein synthesis efficiency, leading to pleiotropic abnormalities in plant growth.
The ribosome is the basic machinery for translation, and biogenesis of ribosomes involves many coordinated events. However, knowledge about ribosomal dynamics in higher plants is very limited. This study chose a highly conserved trans-factor, the 60S ribosomal subunit nuclear export adaptor NMD3, to characterize the mechanism of ribosome biogenesis in the monocot plant Oryza sativa (rice). O. sativa NMD3 (OsNMD3) shares all the common motifs and shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm via CRM1/XPO1. A dominant negative form of OsNMD3 with a truncated nuclear localization sequence (OsNMD3ΔNLS) was retained in the cytoplasm, consequently interfering with the release of OsNMD3 from pre-60S particles and disturbing the assembly of ribosome subunits. Analyses of the transactivation activity and cellulose biosynthesis level revealed low protein synthesis efficiency in the transgenic plants compared with the wild-type plants. Pharmaceutical treatments demonstrated structural alterations in ribosomes in the transgenic plants. Moreover, global expression profiles of the wild-type and transgenic plants were investigated using the Illumina RNA sequencing approach. These expression profiles suggested that overexpression of OsNMD3ΔNLS affected ribosome biogenesis and certain basic pathways, leading to pleiotropic abnormalities in plant growth. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that OsNMD3 is important for ribosome assembly and the maintenance of normal protein synthesis efficiency.
PMCID: PMC4071826  PMID: 24723395
Agronomic trait; dominant negative; OsNMD3; ribosome biogenesis; rice; translational efficiency.
9.  Structural and Functional Insights into the Mode of Action of a Universally Conserved Obg GTPase 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(5):e1001866.
Kinetics and cryo-electronmicroscopy data provide insights into GTPase ObgE’s role as a ribosome anti-association factor that is modulated by nutrient availability, coupling growth control to ribosome biosynthesis and protein translation.
Obg proteins are a family of P-loop GTPases, conserved from bacteria to human. The Obg protein in Escherichia coli (ObgE) has been implicated in many diverse cellular functions, with proposed molecular roles in two global processes, ribosome assembly and stringent response. Here, using pre-steady state fast kinetics we demonstrate that ObgE is an anti-association factor, which prevents ribosomal subunit association and downstream steps in translation by binding to the 50S subunit. ObgE is a ribosome dependent GTPase; however, upon binding to guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp), the global regulator of stringent response, ObgE exhibits an enhanced interaction with the 50S subunit, resulting in increased equilibrium dissociation of the 70S ribosome into subunits. Furthermore, our cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of the 50S·ObgE·GMPPNP complex indicates that the evolutionarily conserved N-terminal domain (NTD) of ObgE is a tRNA structural mimic, with specific interactions with peptidyl-transferase center, displaying a marked resemblance to Class I release factors. These structural data might define ObgE as a specialized translation factor related to stress responses, and provide a framework towards future elucidation of functional interplay between ObgE and ribosome-associated (p)ppGpp regulators. Together with published data, our results suggest that ObgE might act as a checkpoint in final stages of the 50S subunit assembly under normal growth conditions. And more importantly, ObgE, as a (p)ppGpp effector, might also have a regulatory role in the production of the 50S subunit and its participation in translation under certain stressed conditions. Thus, our findings might have uncovered an under-recognized mechanism of translation control by environmental cues.
Author Summary
GTPases commonly act as molecular switches in biological systems. By oscillating between two conformational states, depending on the type of guanine nucleotide bound (GTP or GDP), GTPases are essential regulators of many aspects of cell biology. Additional levels of regulation can be acquired through the synthesis of other guanine nucleotide derivatives that target GTPases; for instance, when nutrients are limited, bacterial cells produce guanine tetraphosphate/pentaphosphate—(p)ppGpp—as part of the “stringent response” to adjust the balance between growth and survival. ObgE is a GTPase with many reported cellular functions that include ribosome biogenesis, but none of its functions is understood at the molecular level. Here we characterize, both biochemically and structurally, the binding of ObgE to its cellular partner, the 50S ribosomal subunit. Our results show that ObgE is an anti-association factor, which binds to the 50S subunit to block the formation of the 70S ribosome, thereby inhibiting the initiation of translation. Furthermore, the binding and anti-association activities of ObgE are regulated by guanine nucleotides, as well as by (p)ppGpp. We thus propose that ObgE is a checkpoint protein in the assembly of the 50S subunit, which senses the cellular energy stress via levels of (p)ppGpp and links ribosome assembly to other global growth control pathways.
PMCID: PMC4028186  PMID: 24844575
10.  The Novel ATP-Binding Cassette Protein ARB1 Is a Shuttling Factor That Stimulates 40S and 60S Ribosome Biogenesis†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(22):9859-9873.
ARB1 is an essential yeast protein closely related to members of a subclass of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of proteins that are known to interact with ribosomes and function in protein synthesis or ribosome biogenesis. We show that depletion of ARB1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells leads to a deficit in 18S rRNA and 40S subunits that can be attributed to slower cleavage at the A0, A1, and A2 processing sites in 35S pre-rRNA, delayed processing of 20S rRNA to mature 18S rRNA, and a possible defect in nuclear export of pre-40S subunits. Depletion of ARB1 also delays rRNA processing events in the 60S biogenesis pathway. We further demonstrate that ARB1 shuttles from nucleus to cytoplasm, cosediments with 40S, 60S, and 80S/90S ribosomal species, and is physically associated in vivo with TIF6, LSG1, and other proteins implicated previously in different aspects of 60S or 40S biogenesis. Mutations of conserved ARB1 residues expected to function in ATP hydrolysis were lethal. We propose that ARB1 functions as a mechanochemical ATPase to stimulate multiple steps in the 40S and 60S ribosomal biogenesis pathways.
PMCID: PMC1280274  PMID: 16260602
11.  RNA Mimicry by the Fap7 Adenylate Kinase in Ribosome Biogenesis 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(5):e1001860.
The structure of a ribosome assembly factor in complex bound to a ribosomal protein uncovers a chaperoning function that uses RNA mimicry and is regulated by ATP hydrolysis.
During biogenesis of the 40S and 60S ribosomal subunits, the pre-40S particles are exported to the cytoplasm prior to final cleavage of the 20S pre-rRNA to mature 18S rRNA. Amongst the factors involved in this maturation step, Fap7 is unusual, as it both interacts with ribosomal protein Rps14 and harbors adenylate kinase activity, a function not usually associated with ribonucleoprotein assembly. Human hFap7 also regulates Cajal body assembly and cell cycle progression via the p53–MDM2 pathway. This work presents the functional and structural characterization of the Fap7–Rps14 complex. We report that Fap7 association blocks the RNA binding surface of Rps14 and, conversely, Rps14 binding inhibits adenylate kinase activity of Fap7. In addition, the affinity of Fap7 for Rps14 is higher with bound ADP, whereas ATP hydrolysis dissociates the complex. These results suggest that Fap7 chaperones Rps14 assembly into pre-40S particles via RNA mimicry in an ATP-dependent manner. Incorporation of Rps14 by Fap7 leads to a structural rearrangement of the platform domain necessary for the pre-rRNA to acquire a cleavage competent conformation.
Author Summary
Ribosomes are the cellular machines responsible for all protein synthesis. In eukaryotes, the assembly of ribosomes from their protein and RNA components is extremely complicated and involves more than 200 nonribosomal factors—three times the number of proteins in the mature complex. Among these factors, the Fap7 protein is particularly intriguing because it interacts with the small subunit ribosomal protein Rps14 and it exhibits adenylate kinase activity—a molecular function more commonly associated with regulating ATP/ADP levels than assembling protein–RNA complexes. Combining structural and biochemical analysis of the Rps14–Fap7 complex, we show that Fap7 uses protein side chains to mimic RNA contacts, rendering the interaction of Rps14 with ribosomal RNA or with Fap7 competitive and mutually exclusive. Once bound, Rps14 blocks the substrate-binding cavity of Fap7, and ATP hydrolysis will then break the Fap7–Rps14 complex apart. At the same time, the ribosome structure at the location where Rps14 binds is disrupted when the Fap7/Rps14 complex is formed, and this process is regulated by ATP binding and hydrolysis. Our model is thus that Fap7 temporarily removes Rps14 from the ribosome to enable a conformational change of the ribosomal RNA that is needed for the final maturation step of the small ribosomal subunit.
PMCID: PMC4019466  PMID: 24823650
12.  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
13.  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
14.  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
15.  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
16.  Nmd3p Is a Crm1p-Dependent Adapter Protein for Nuclear Export of the Large Ribosomal Subunit 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;151(5):1057-1066.
In eukaryotic cells, nuclear export of nascent ribosomal subunits through the nuclear pore complex depends on the small GTPase Ran. However, neither the nuclear export signals (NESs) for the ribosomal subunits nor the receptor proteins, which recognize the NESs and mediate export of the subunits, have been identified. We showed previously that Nmd3p is an essential protein from yeast that is required for a late step in biogenesis of the large (60S) ribosomal subunit. Here, we show that Nmd3p shuttles and that deletion of the NES from Nmd3p leads to nuclear accumulation of the mutant protein, inhibition of the 60S subunit biogenesis, and inhibition of the nuclear export of 60S subunits. Moreover, the 60S subunits that accumulate in the nucleus can be coimmunoprecipitated with the NES-deficient Nmd3p. 60S subunit biogenesis and export of truncated Nmd3p were restored by the addition of an exogenous NES. To identify the export receptor for Nmd3p we show that Nmd3p shuttling and 60S export is blocked by the Crm1p-specific inhibitor leptomycin B. These results identify Crm1p as the receptor for Nmd3p export. Thus, export of the 60S subunit is mediated by the adapter protein Nmd3p in a Crm1p-dependent pathway.
PMCID: PMC2174350  PMID: 11086007
nuclear export; ribosome; Crm1p; Nmd3p; Saccharomyces cerevisiae
17.  An evolutionary ratchet leading to loss of elongation factors in eukaryotes 
The GTPase eEF1A is the eukaryotic factor responsible for the essential, universal function of aminoacyl-tRNA delivery to the ribosome. Surprisingly, eEF1A is not universally present in eukaryotes, being replaced by the paralog EFL independently in multiple lineages. The driving force behind this unusually frequent replacement is poorly understood.
Through sequence searching of genomic and EST databases, we find a striking association of eEF1A replacement by EFL and loss of eEF1A’s guanine exchange factor, eEF1Bα, suggesting that EFL is able to spontaneously recharge with GTP. Sequence conservation and homology modeling analyses indicate several sequence regions that may be responsible for EFL’s lack of requirement for eEF1Bα.
We propose that the unusual pattern of eEF1A, eEF1Bα and EFL presence and absence can be explained by a ratchet-like process: if either eEF1A or eEF1Bα diverges beyond functionality in the presence of EFL, the system is unable to return to the ancestral, eEF1A:eEFBα-driven state.
PMCID: PMC3938643  PMID: 24564225
eEF1A; EFL; eEF1B; Ribosome; Elongation factor; GTPase; GEF; Molecular evolution; Eukaryotes
18.  Rlp24 activates the AAA-ATPase Drg1 to initiate cytoplasmic pre-60S maturation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;199(5):771-782.
Rlp24 recruits Drg1 to pre-60S particles and stimulates its ATP hydrolysis to promote downstream maturation through specific extraction of Rlp24.
Formation of eukaryotic ribosomes is driven by energy-consuming enzymes. The AAA-ATPase Drg1 is essential for the release of several shuttling proteins from cytoplasmic pre-60S particles and the loading of late joining proteins. However, its exact role in ribosome biogenesis has been unknown. Here we show that the shuttling protein Rlp24 recruited Drg1 to pre-60S particles and stimulated its ATPase activity. ATP hydrolysis in the second AAA domain of Drg1 was required to release shuttling proteins. In vitro, Drg1 specifically and exclusively extracted Rlp24 from purified pre-60S particles. Rlp24 release required ATP and was promoted by the interaction of Drg1 with the nucleoporin Nup116. Subsequent ATP hydrolysis in the first AAA domain dissociated Drg1 from Rlp24, liberating both proteins for consecutive cycles of activity. Our results show that release of Rlp24 by Drg1 defines a key event in large subunit formation that is a prerequisite for progression of cytoplasmic pre-60S maturation.
PMCID: PMC3514788  PMID: 23185031
19.  TIF-IA-Dependent Regulation of Ribosome Synthesis in Drosophila Muscle Is Required to Maintain Systemic Insulin Signaling and Larval Growth 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(10):e1004750.
The conserved TOR kinase signaling network links nutrient availability to cell, tissue and body growth in animals. One important growth-regulatory target of TOR signaling is ribosome biogenesis. Studies in yeast and mammalian cell culture have described how TOR controls rRNA synthesis—a limiting step in ribosome biogenesis—via the RNA Polymerase I transcription factor TIF-IA. However, the contribution of TOR-dependent ribosome synthesis to tissue and body growth in animals is less clear. Here we show in Drosophila larvae that ribosome synthesis in muscle is required non-autonomously to maintain normal body growth and development. We find that amino acid starvation and TOR inhibition lead to reduced levels of TIF-IA, and decreased rRNA synthesis in larval muscle. When we mimic this decrease in muscle ribosome synthesis using RNAi-mediated knockdown of TIF-IA, we observe delayed larval development and reduced body growth. This reduction in growth is caused by lowered systemic insulin signaling via two endocrine responses: reduced expression of Drosophila insulin-like peptides (dILPs) from the brain and increased expression of Imp-L2—a secreted factor that binds and inhibits dILP activity—from muscle. We also observed that maintaining TIF-IA levels in muscle could partially reverse the starvation-mediated suppression of systemic insulin signaling. Finally, we show that activation of TOR specifically in muscle can increase overall body size and this effect requires TIF-IA function. These data suggest that muscle ribosome synthesis functions as a nutrient-dependent checkpoint for overall body growth: in nutrient rich conditions, TOR is required to maintain levels of TIF-IA and ribosome synthesis to promote high levels of systemic insulin, but under conditions of starvation stress, reduced muscle ribosome synthesis triggers an endocrine response that limits systemic insulin signaling to restrict growth and maintain homeostasis.
Author Summary
All animals need adequate nutrition to grow and develop. Studies in tissue culture and model organisms have identified the TOR kinase signaling pathway as a key nutrient-dependent regulator of growth. Under nutrient rich conditions, TOR kinase is active and stimulates metabolic processes that drive growth. Under nutrient poor conditions, TOR is inhibited and animals alter their metabolism to maintain homeostasis and survival. Here we use Drosophila larvae to identify a role for ribosome synthesis—a key metabolic process—in mediating nutrient and TOR effects on body growth. In particular, we show that ribosome synthesis specifically in larval muscle is necessary to maintain organismal growth. We find that inhibition of muscle ribosome synthesis leads to reduced systemic insulin-like growth factor signaling via two endocrine responses—decreased expression of brain derived Drosophila insulin-like peptides (dILPs) and increased expression of Imp-L2, an inhibitor of insulin signaling. As a result of these effects, body growth is reduced and larval development is delayed. These findings suggest that control of ribosome synthesis, and hence protein synthesis, in specific tissues can exert control on overall body growth.
PMCID: PMC4214618  PMID: 25356674
20.  Characterization of the nuclear export adaptor protein Nmd3 in association with the 60S ribosomal subunit 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;189(7):1079-1086.
3D reconstruction by cryo-EM provides the first structural description of a ribosomal biogenesis factor (Nmd3) in complex with the 60S ribosomal subunit.
The nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein Nmd3 is an adaptor for export of the 60S ribosomal subunit from the nucleus. Nmd3 binds to nascent 60S subunits in the nucleus and recruits the export receptor Crm1 to facilitate passage through the nuclear pore complex. In this study, we present a cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) reconstruction of the 60S subunit in complex with Nmd3 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The density corresponding to Nmd3 is directly visible in the cryo-EM map and is attached to the regions around helices 38, 69, and 95 of the 25S ribosomal RNA (rRNA), the helix 95 region being adjacent to the protein Rpl10. We identify the intersubunit side of the large subunit as the binding site for Nmd3. rRNA protection experiments corroborate the structural data. Furthermore, Nmd3 binding to 60S subunits is blocked in 80S ribosomes, which is consistent with the assigned binding site on the subunit joining face. This cryo-EM map is a first step toward a molecular understanding of the functional role and release mechanism of Nmd3.
PMCID: PMC2894450  PMID: 20584915
21.  Rational Extension of the Ribosome Biogenesis Pathway Using Network-Guided Genetics 
PLoS Biology  2009;7(10):e1000213.
Gene networks are an efficient route for associating candidate genes with biological processes. Here, networks are used to discover more than 15 new genes for ribosomal subunit maturation, rRNA processing, and ribosomal export from the nucleus.
Biogenesis of ribosomes is an essential cellular process conserved across all eukaryotes and is known to require >170 genes for the assembly, modification, and trafficking of ribosome components through multiple cellular compartments. Despite intensive study, this pathway likely involves many additional genes. Here, we employ network-guided genetics—an approach for associating candidate genes with biological processes that capitalizes on recent advances in functional genomic and proteomic studies—to computationally identify additional ribosomal biogenesis genes. We experimentally evaluated >100 candidate yeast genes in a battery of assays, confirming involvement of at least 15 new genes, including previously uncharacterized genes (YDL063C, YIL091C, YOR287C, YOR006C/TSR3, YOL022C/TSR4). We associate the new genes with specific aspects of ribosomal subunit maturation, ribosomal particle association, and ribosomal subunit nuclear export, and we identify genes specifically required for the processing of 5S, 7S, 20S, 27S, and 35S rRNAs. These results reveal new connections between ribosome biogenesis and mRNA splicing and add >10% new genes—most with human orthologs—to the biogenesis pathway, significantly extending our understanding of a universally conserved eukaryotic process.
Author Summary
Ribosomes are the extremely complex cellular machines responsible for constructing new proteins. In eukaryotic cells, such as yeast, each ribosome contains more than 80 protein or RNA components. These complex machines must themselves be assembled by an even more complex machinery spanning multiple cellular compartments and involving perhaps 200 components in an ordered series of processing events, resulting in delivery of the two halves of the mature ribosome, the 40S and 60S components, to the cytoplasm. The ribosome biogenesis machinery has been only partially characterized, and many lines of evidence suggest that there are additional components that are still unknown. We employed an emerging computational technique called network-guided genetics to identify new candidate genes for this pathway. We then tested the candidates in a battery of experimental assays to determine what roles the genes might play in the biogenesis of ribosomes. This approach proved an efficient route to the discovery of new genes involved in ribosome biogenesis, significantly extending our understanding of a universally conserved eukaryotic process.
PMCID: PMC2749941  PMID: 19806183
22.  Structural analysis of an eIF3 subcomplex reveals conserved interactions required for a stable and proper translation pre-initiation complex assembly 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;40(5):2294-2311.
Translation initiation factor eIF3 acts as the key orchestrator of the canonical initiation pathway in eukaryotes, yet its structure is greatly unexplored. We report the 2.2 Å resolution crystal structure of the complex between the yeast seven-bladed β-propeller eIF3i/TIF34 and a C-terminal α-helix of eIF3b/PRT1, which reveals universally conserved interactions. Mutating these interactions displays severe growth defects and eliminates association of eIF3i/TIF34 and strikingly also eIF3g/TIF35 with eIF3 and 40S subunits in vivo. Unexpectedly, 40S-association of the remaining eIF3 subcomplex and eIF5 is likewise destabilized resulting in formation of aberrant pre-initiation complexes (PICs) containing eIF2 and eIF1, which critically compromises scanning arrest on mRNA at its AUG start codon suggesting that the contacts between mRNA and ribosomal decoding site are impaired. Remarkably, overexpression of eIF3g/TIF35 suppresses the leaky scanning and growth defects most probably by preventing these aberrant PICs to form. Leaky scanning is also partially suppressed by eIF1, one of the key regulators of AUG recognition, and its mutant sui1G107R but the mechanism differs. We conclude that the C-terminus of eIF3b/PRT1 orchestrates co-operative recruitment of eIF3i/TIF34 and eIF3g/TIF35 to the 40S subunit for a stable and proper assembly of 48S pre-initiation complexes necessary for stringent AUG recognition on mRNAs.
PMCID: PMC3300007  PMID: 22090426
23.  Drosophila TIF-IA is required for ribosome synthesis and cell growth and is regulated by the TOR pathway 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;179(6):1105-1113.
Synthesis of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is a key step in ribosome biogenesis and is essential for cell growth. Few studies, however, have investigated rRNA synthesis regulation in vivo in multicellular organisms. Here, we present a genetic analysis of transcription initiation factor IA (TIF-IA), a conserved RNA polymerase I transcription factor. Drosophila melanogaster Tif-IA−/− mutants have reduced levels of rRNA synthesis and sustain a developmental arrest caused by a block in cellular growth. We find that the target of rapamycin (TOR) pathway regulates TIF-IA recruitment to rDNA. Furthermore, we show that the TOR pathway regulates rRNA synthesis in vivo and that TIF-IA overexpression can maintain rRNA transcription when TOR activity is reduced in developing larvae. We propose that TIF-IA acts in vivo as a downstream growth–regulatory target of the TOR pathway. Overexpression of TIF-IA also elevates levels of both 5S RNA and messenger RNAs encoding ribosomal proteins. Stimulation of rRNA synthesis by TIF-IA may therefore provide a feed-forward mechanism to coregulate the levels of other ribosome components.
PMCID: PMC2140016  PMID: 18086911
24.  A functional network involved in the recycling of nucleocytoplasmic pre-60S factors 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;173(3):349-360.
Eukaryotic pre-ribosomes go through cytoplasmic maturation steps before entering translation. The nucleocytoplasmic proteins participating in these late stages of maturation are reimported to the nucleus. In this study, we describe a functional network focused on Rei1/Ybr267w, a strictly cytoplasmic pre-60S factor indirectly involved in nuclear 27S pre-ribosomal RNA processing. In the absence of Rei1, the nuclear import of at least three other pre-60S factors is impaired. The accumulation in the cytoplasm of a small complex formed by the association of Arx1 with a novel factor, Alb1/Yjl122w, inhibits the release of the putative antiassociation factor Tif6 from the premature large ribosomal subunits and its recycling to the nucleus. We propose a model in which Rei1 is a key factor for the coordinated dissociation and recycling of the last pre-60S factors before newly synthesized large ribosomal subunits enter translation.
PMCID: PMC2063836  PMID: 16651379
25.  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

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