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Nucleic Acids Res. 2008 Feb;36(2):353-63. Epub 2007 Nov 22.

Cordycepin-hypersensitive growth links elevated polyphosphate levels to inhibition of poly(A) polymerase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.


To identify genes involved in poly(A) metabolism, we screened the yeast gene deletion collection for growth defects in the presence of cordycepin (3'-deoxyadenosine), a precursor to the RNA chain terminating ATP analog cordycepin triphosphate. Deltapho80 and Deltapho85 strains, which have a constitutively active phosphate-response pathway, were identified as cordycepin hypersensitive. We show that inorganic polyphosphate (poly P) accumulated in these strains and that poly P is a potent inhibitor of poly(A) polymerase activity in vitro. Binding analyses of poly P and yeast Pap1p revealed an interaction with a k(D) in the low nanomolar range. Poly P also bound mammalian poly(A) polymerase, however, with a 10-fold higher k(D) compared to yeast Pap1p. Genetic tests with double mutants of Deltapho80 and other genes involved in phosphate homeostasis and poly P accumulation suggest that poly P contributed to cordycepin hypersensitivity. Synergistic inhibition of mRNA synthesis through poly P-mediated inhibition of Pap1p and through cordycepin-mediated RNA chain termination may thus account for hypersensitive growth of Deltapho80 and Deltapho85 strains in the presence of the chain terminator. Consistent with this, a mutation in the 3'-end formation component rna14 was synthetic lethal in combination with Deltapho80. Based on these observations, we suggest that binding of poly P to poly(A) polymerase negatively regulates its activity.

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