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1.  Trypanosoma brucei Spliced Leader RNA Maturation by the Cap 1 2′-O-Ribose Methyltransferase and SLA1 H/ACA snoRNA Pseudouridine Synthase Complex ▿ ‡  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;29(5):1202-1211.
Kinetoplastid flagellates attach a 39-nucleotide spliced leader (SL) upstream of protein-coding regions in polycistronic RNA precursors through trans splicing. SL modifications include cap 2′-O-ribose methylation of the first four nucleotides and pseudouridine (ψ) formation at uracil 28. In Trypanosoma brucei, TbMTr1 performs 2′-O-ribose methylation of the first transcribed nucleotide, or cap 1. We report the characterization of an SL RNA processing complex with TbMTr1 and the SLA1 H/ACA small nucleolar ribonucleoprotein (snoRNP) particle that guides SL ψ28 formation. TbMTr1 is in a high-molecular-weight complex containing the four conserved core proteins of H/ACA snoRNPs, a kinetoplastid-specific protein designated methyltransferase-associated protein (TbMTAP), and the SLA1 snoRNA. TbMTAP-null lines are viable but have decreased SL RNA processing efficiency in cap methylation, 3′-end maturation, and ψ28 formation. TbMTAP is required for association between TbMTr1 and the SLA1 snoRNP but does not affect U1 small nuclear RNA methylation. A complex methylation profile in the mRNA population of TbMTAP-null lines indicates an additional effect on cap 4 methylations. The TbMTr1 complex specializes the SLA1 H/ACA snoRNP for efficient processing of multiple modifications on the SL RNA substrate.
doi:10.1128/MCB.01496-08
PMCID: PMC2643836  PMID: 19103757
2.  Phosphorylation of Slx4 by Mec1 and Tel1 Regulates the Single-Strand Annealing Mode of DNA Repair in Budding Yeast▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(18):6433-6445.
Budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) Slx4 is essential for cell viability in the absence of the Sgs1 helicase and for recovery from DNA damage. Here we report that cells lacking Slx4 have difficulties in completing DNA synthesis during recovery from replisome stalling induced by the DNA alkylating agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). Although DNA synthesis restarts during recovery, cells are left with unreplicated gaps in the genome despite an increase in translesion synthesis. In this light, epistasis experiments show that SLX4 interacts with genes involved in error-free bypass of DNA lesions. Slx4 associates physically, in a mutually exclusive manner, with two structure-specific endonucleases, Rad1 and Slx1, but neither of these enzymes is required for Slx4 to promote resistance to MMS. However, Rad1-dependent DNA repair by single-strand annealing (SSA) requires Slx4. Strikingly, phosphorylation of Slx4 by the Mec1 and Tel1 kinases appears to be essential for SSA but not for cell viability in the absence of Sgs1 or for cellular resistance to MMS. These results indicate that Slx4 has multiple functions in responding to DNA damage and that a subset of these are regulated by Mec1/Tel1-dependent phosphorylation.
doi:10.1128/MCB.00135-07
PMCID: PMC2099619  PMID: 17636031
3.  The 2′-O-Ribose Methyltransferase for Cap 1 of Spliced Leader RNA and U1 Small Nuclear RNA in Trypanosoma brucei▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(17):6084-6092.
mRNA cap 1 2′-O-ribose methylation is a widespread modification that is implicated in processing, trafficking, and translational control in eukaryotic systems. The eukaryotic enzyme has yet to be identified. In kinetoplastid flagellates trans-splicing of spliced leader (SL) to polycistronic precursors conveys a hypermethylated cap 4, including a cap 0 m7G and seven additional methylations on the first 4 nucleotides, to all nuclear mRNAs. We report the first eukaryotic cap 1 2′-O-ribose methyltransferase, TbMTr1, a member of a conserved family of viral and eukaryotic enzymes. Recombinant TbMTr1 methylates the ribose of the first nucleotide of an m7G-capped substrate. Knockdowns and null mutants of TbMTr1 in Trypanosoma brucei grow normally, with loss of 2′-O-ribose methylation at cap 1 on substrate SL RNA and U1 small nuclear RNA. TbMTr1-null cells have an accumulation of cap 0 substrate without further methylation, while spliced mRNA is modified efficiently at position 4 in the absence of 2′-O-ribose methylation at position 1; downstream cap 4 methylations are independent of cap 1. Based on TbMTr1-green fluorescent protein localization, 2′-O-ribose methylation at position 1 occurs in the nucleus. Accumulation of 3′-extended SL RNA substrate indicates a delay in processing and suggests a synergistic role for cap 1 in maturation.
doi:10.1128/MCB.00647-07
PMCID: PMC1952150  PMID: 17606627
4.  3′-End Polishing of the Kinetoplastid Spliced Leader RNA Is Performed by SNIP, a 3′→5′ Exonuclease with a Motley Assortment of Small RNA Substrates†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(23):10390-10396.
In all trypanosomatids, trans splicing of the spliced leader (SL) RNA is a required step in the maturation of all nucleus-derived mRNAs. The SL RNA is transcribed with an oligo-U 3′ extension that is removed prior to trans splicing. Here we report the identification and characterization of a nonexosomal, 3′→5′ exonuclease required for SL RNA 3′-end formation in Trypanosoma brucei. We named this enzyme SNIP (for snRNA incomplete 3′ processing). The central 158-amino-acid domain of SNIP is related to the exonuclease III (ExoIII) domain of the 3′→5′ proofreading ɛ subunit of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase III holoenzyme. SNIP had a preference for oligo(U) 3′ extensions in vitro. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of SNIP resulted in a growth defect and correlated with the accumulation of one- to two- nucleotide 3′ extensions of SL RNA, U2 and U4 snRNAs, a five-nucleotide extension of 5S rRNA, and the destabilization of U3 snoRNA and U2 snRNA. SNIP-green fluorescent protein localized to the nucleoplasm, and substrate SL RNA derived from SNIP knockdown cells showed wild-type cap 4 modification, indicating that SNIP acts on SL RNA after cytosolic trafficking. Since the primary SL RNA transcript was not the accumulating species in SNIP knockdown cells, SL RNA 3′-end formation is a multistep process in which SNIP provides the ultimate 3′-end polishing. We speculate that SNIP is part of an organized nucleoplasmic machinery responsible for processing of SL RNA.
doi:10.1128/MCB.24.23.10390-10396.2004
PMCID: PMC529039  PMID: 15542846
5.  Transcription Termination and 3′-End Processing of the Spliced Leader RNA in Kinetoplastids 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(2):1595-1604.
Addition of a 39-nucleotide (nt) spliced leader (SL) by trans splicing is a basic requirement for all trypanosome nuclear mRNAs. The SL RNA in Leishmania tarentolae is a 96-nt precursor transcript synthesized by a polymerase that resembles polymerase II most closely. To analyze SL RNA genesis, we mutated SL RNA intron structures and sequence elements: stem-loops II and III, the Sm-binding site, and the downstream T tract. Using an exon-tagged SL RNA gene, we examined the phenotypes produced by a second-site 10-bp linker scan mutagenic series and directed mutagenesis. Here we report that transcription is terminated by the T tract, which is common to the 3′ end of all kinetoplastid SL RNA genes, and that more than six T’s are required for efficient termination in vivo. We describe mutants whose SL RNAs end in the T tract or appear to lack efficient termination but can generate wild-type 3′ ends. Transcriptionally active nuclear extracts show staggered products in the T tract, directed by eight or more T’s. The in vivo and in vitro data suggest that SL RNA transcription termination is staggered in the T tract and is followed by nucleolytic processing to generate the mature 3′ end. We show that the Sm-binding site and stem-loop III structures are necessary for correct 3′-end formation. Thus, we have defined the transcription termination element for the SL RNA gene. The termination mechanism differs from that of vertebrate small nuclear RNA genes and the SL RNA homologue in Ascaris.
PMCID: PMC116087  PMID: 9891092
6.  Three Small Nucleolar RNAs Identified from the Spliced Leader-Associated RNA Locus in Kinetoplastid Protozoans 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(8):4409-4417.
First characterized in Trypanosoma brucei, the spliced leader-associated (SLA) RNA gene locus has now been isolated from the kinetoplastids Leishmania tarentolae and Trypanosoma cruzi. In addition to the T. brucei SLA RNA, both L. tarentolae and T. cruzi SLA RNA repeat units also yield RNAs of 75 or 76 nucleotides (nt), 92 or 94 nt, and ∼450 or ∼350 nt, respectively, each with significant sequence identity to transcripts previously described from the T. brucei SLA RNA locus. Cell fractionation studies localize the three additional RNAs to the nucleolus; the presence of box C/D-like elements in two of the transcripts suggests that they are members of a class of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) that guide modification and cleavage of rRNAs. Candidate rRNA-snoRNA interactions can be found for one domain in each of the C/D element-containing RNAs. The putative target site for the 75/76-nt RNA is a highly conserved portion of the small subunit rRNA that contains 2′-O-ribose methylation at a conserved position (Gm1830) in L. tarentolae and in vertebrates. The 92/94-nt RNA has the potential to form base pairs near a conserved methylation site in the large subunit rRNA, which corresponds to position Gm4141 of small rRNA 2 in T. brucei. These data suggest that trypanosomatids do not obey the general 5-bp rule for snoRNA-mediated methylation.
PMCID: PMC109026  PMID: 9671450

Results 1-6 (6)