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1.  The DEAH-box Helicase Dhr1 Dissociates U3 from the Pre-rRNA to Promote Formation of the Central Pseudoknot 
PLoS Biology  2015;13(2):e1002083.
In eukaryotes, the highly conserved U3 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) base-pairs to multiple sites in the pre-ribosomal RNA (pre-rRNA) to promote early cleavage and folding events. Binding of the U3 box A region to the pre-rRNA is mutually exclusive with folding of the central pseudoknot (CPK), a universally conserved rRNA structure of the small ribosomal subunit essential for protein synthesis. Here, we report that the DEAH-box helicase Dhr1 (Ecm16) is responsible for displacing U3. An active site mutant of Dhr1 blocked release of U3 from the pre-ribosome, thereby trapping a pre-40S particle. This particle had not yet achieved its mature structure because it contained U3, pre-rRNA, and a number of early-acting ribosome synthesis factors but noticeably lacked ribosomal proteins (r-proteins) that surround the CPK. Dhr1 was cross-linked in vivo to the pre-rRNA and to U3 sequences flanking regions that base-pair to the pre-rRNA including those that form the CPK. Point mutations in the box A region of U3 suppressed a cold-sensitive mutation of Dhr1, strongly indicating that U3 is an in vivo substrate of Dhr1. To support the conclusions derived from in vivo analysis we showed that Dhr1 unwinds U3-18S duplexes in vitro by using a mechanism reminiscent of DEAD box proteins.
U3 snoRNA binds to pre-rRNA, helping to orchestrate key steps in ribosome assembly. This study identifies Dhr1 as the essential RNA helicase that releases U3 snoRNA and allows ribosome maturation to continue.
Author Summary
Ribosomes are intricate assemblies of RNA and protein that are responsible for decoding a cell’s genetic information. Their assembly is a very rapid and dynamic process, requiring many ancillary factors in eukaryotic cells. One critical factor is the U3 snoRNA, which binds to the immature ribosomal RNA to direct early processing and folding of the RNA of the small subunit. Although U3 is essential to promote assembly, it must be actively removed to allow completion of RNA folding. Such RNA dynamics are often driven by RNA helicases, and here we use a broad range of experimental approaches to identify the RNA helicase Dhr1 as the enzyme responsible for removing U3 in yeast. A combination of techniques allows us to assess what goes wrong when Dhr1 is mutated, which parts of the RNA molecules the enzyme binds to, and how Dhr1 unwinds its substrates.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002083
PMCID: PMC4340053  PMID: 25710520
2.  Physical and Functional Interaction between the Methyltransferase Bud23 and the Essential DEAH-Box RNA Helicase Ecm16 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(12):2208-2220.
The small ribosomal subunit assembles cotranscriptionally on the nascent primary transcript. Cleavage at site A2 liberates the pre-40S subunit. We previously identified Bud23 as a conserved eukaryotic methyltransferase that is required for efficient cleavage at A2. Here, we report that Bud23 physically and functionally interacts with the DEAH-box RNA helicase Ecm16 (also known as Dhr1). Ecm16 is also required for cleavage at A2. We identified mutations in ECM16 that suppressed the growth and A2 cleavage defects of a bud23Δ mutant. RNA helicases often require protein cofactors to provide substrate specificity. We used yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) two-hybrid analysis to map the binding site of Bud23 on Ecm16. Despite the physical and functional interaction between these factors, mutations that disrupted the interaction, as assayed by two-hybrid analysis, did not display a growth defect. We previously identified mutations in UTP2 and UTP14 that suppressed bud23Δ. We suggest that a network of protein interactions may mask the loss of interaction that we have defined by two-hybrid analysis. A mutation in motif I of Ecm16 that is predicted to impair its ability to hydrolyze ATP led to accumulation of Bud23 in an ∼45S particle containing Ecm16. Thus, Bud23 enters the pre-40S pathway at the time of Ecm16 function.
doi:10.1128/MCB.01656-13
PMCID: PMC4054285  PMID: 24710271
3.  The methyltransferase adaptor protein Trm112 is involved in biogenesis of both ribosomal subunits 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(21):4313-4322.
This study shows that Trm112 interacts with and is required for the presence of 18S rRNA methyltransferase Bud23. Also shown is the involvement of Trm112 in 60S biogenesis, thus extending the known functions of Trm112 from tRNA and translation factor methylation to roles in biogenesis of both ribosomal subunits.
We previously identified Bud23 as the methyltransferase that methylates G1575 of rRNA in the P-site of the small (40S) ribosomal subunit. In this paper, we show that Bud23 requires the methyltransferase adaptor protein Trm112 for stability in vivo. Deletion of Trm112 results in a bud23Δ-like mutant phenotype. Thus Trm112 is required for efficient small-subunit biogenesis. Genetic analysis suggests the slow growth of a trm112Δ mutant is due primarily to the loss of Bud23. Surprisingly, suppression of the bud23Δ-dependent 40S defect revealed a large (60S) biogenesis defect in a trm112Δ mutant. Using sucrose gradient sedimentation analysis and coimmunoprecipitation, we show that Trm112 is also involved in 60S subunit biogenesis. The 60S defect may be dependent on Nop2 and Rcm1, two additional Trm112 interactors that we identify. Our work extends the known range of Trm112 function from modification of tRNAs and translation factors to both ribosomal subunits, showing that its effects span all aspects of the translation machinery. Although Trm112 is required for Bud23 stability, our results suggest that Trm112 is not maintained in a stable complex with Bud23. We suggest that Trm112 stabilizes its free methyltransferase partners not engaged with substrate and/or helps to deliver its methyltransferase partners to their substrates.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E12-05-0370
PMCID: PMC3484107  PMID: 22956767
4.  Las1 interacts with Grc3 polynucleotide kinase and is required for ribosome synthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;41(2):1135-1150.
Ribosome biogenesis is a multi-step process that couples cell growth with cell proliferation. Although several large-scale analysis of pre-ribosomal particles have identified numerous trans-acting factors involved in this process, many proteins involved in pre-rRNA processing and ribosomal subunit maturation have yet to be identified. Las1 was originally identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a protein involved in cell morphogenesis. We previously demonstrated that the human homolog, Las1L, is required for efficient ITS2 rRNA processing and synthesis of the 60S ribosomal subunit. Here, we report that the functions of Las1 in ribosome biogenesis are also conserved in S. cerevisiae. Depletion of Las1 led to the accumulation of both the 27S and 7S rRNA intermediates and impaired the synthesis of the 60S subunit. We show that Las1 co-precipitates mainly with the 27S rRNA and associates with an Nsa1 and Rix1-containing pre-60S particle. We further identify Grc3 as a major Las1-interacting protein. We demonstrate that the kinase activity of Grc3 is required for efficient pre-rRNA processing and that depletion of Grc3 leads to rRNA processing defects similar to the ones observed in Las1-depleted cells. We propose that Las1 and Grc3 function together in a conserved mechanism to modulate rRNA processing and eukaryotic ribosome biogenesis.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks1086
PMCID: PMC3553937  PMID: 23175604
5.  Bud23 Methylates G1575 of 18S rRNA and Is Required for Efficient Nuclear Export of Pre-40S Subunits▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(10):3151-3161.
BUD23 was identified from a bioinformatics analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes involved in ribosome biogenesis. Deletion of BUD23 leads to severely impaired growth, reduced levels of the small (40S) ribosomal subunit, and a block in processing 20S rRNA to 18S rRNA, a late step in 40S maturation. Bud23 belongs to the S-adenosylmethionine-dependent Rossmann-fold methyltransferase superfamily and is related to small-molecule methyltransferases. Nevertheless, we considered that Bud23 methylates rRNA. Methylation of G1575 is the only mapped modification for which the methylase has not been assigned. Here, we show that this modification is lost in bud23 mutants. The nuclear accumulation of the small-subunit reporters Rps2-green fluorescent protein (GFP) and Rps3-GFP, as well as the rRNA processing intermediate, the 5′ internal transcribed spacer 1, indicate that bud23 mutants are defective for small-subunit export. Mutations in Bud23 that inactivated its methyltransferase activity complemented a bud23Δ mutant. In addition, mutant ribosomes in which G1575 was changed to adenosine supported growth comparable to that of cells with wild-type ribosomes. Thus, Bud23 protein, but not its methyltransferase activity, is important for biogenesis and export of the 40S subunit in yeast.
doi:10.1128/MCB.01674-07
PMCID: PMC2423152  PMID: 18332120

Results 1-5 (5)