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J Cell Sci. 2004 Sep 1;117(Pt 19):4551-8.

A key role for stress-induced satellite III transcripts in the relocalization of splicing factors into nuclear stress granules.

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  • 1INSERM U309, Institut Albert Bonniot, Domaine de la Merci, 38706 La Tronche CEDEX, France.


Exposure of cells to stressful conditions results in the rapid synthesis of a subset of specialized proteins termed heat shock proteins (HSPs) which function in protecting the cell against damage. The stress-induced activation of hsp genes is controlled by the heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1). At the cellular level, one of the most striking effects of stress is the rapid and reversible redistribution of HSF1 into a few nuclear structures termed nuclear stress granules which form primarily on the 9q12 locus in humans. Within these structures, HSF1 binds to satellite III repeated elements and drives the RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription of these sequences into stable RNAs which remain associated with the 9q12 locus for a certain time after synthesis. Other proteins, in particular splicing factors, were also shown to relocalize to the granules upon stress. Here, we investigated the role of stress-induced satellite III transcripts in the relocalization of splicing factors to the granules. We show that the recruitment of the two serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins SF2/ASF and SRp30c requires the presence of stress-induced satellite III transcripts. In agreement with these findings, we identified the second RNA-recognition motif (RRM2) of hSF2/ASF as the motif required for the targeting to the granules, and we showed by immunoprecipitation that the endogenous hSF2/ASF protein is present in a complex with satellite III transcripts in stressed cells in vivo. Interestingly, satellite III transcripts also immunoprecipitate together with small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) in vivo whereas the intronless hsp70 transcripts do not, supporting the proposal that these transcripts are subject to splicing. Altogether, these data highlight the central role for satellite III transcripts in the targeting and/or retention of splicing factors into the granules upon stress.

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