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Yeast. 2011 Dec;28(12):821-32. doi: 10.1002/yea.1909. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

Yeast RNA viruses as indicators of exosome activity: human exosome hCsl4p participates in RNA degradation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae'.

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  • 1Instituto de Biología Funcional y Genómica, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.


The exosome is an evolutionarily conserved 10-mer complex involved in RNA metabolism, located in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm. The cytoplasmic exosome plays an important role in mRNA turnover through its 3'→5' exonucleolytic activity. The superkiller (SKI) phenotype of yeast was originally identified as an increase of killer toxin production due to elevated levels of the L-A double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) Totivirus and its satellite toxin-encoding M dsRNA. Most SKI genes were later shown to be either components of the exosome or modulators of its activity. Variations in the amount of Totivirus are, thus, good indicators of yeast exosome activity, and can be used to analyse its components. Furthermore, if exosome proteins of higher eukaryotes were functional in S. cerevisiae, these viruses would provide a simple tool to analyse their function. In this work, we have found that hCSL4, the human orthologue of SKI4 in the yeast exosome, rescues the null phenotype of the deletion mutant. hCsl4p shares with Ski4p conserved S1 RNA-binding domains, but lacks the N-terminal third of Ski4p. Nevertheless, it interacts with the Dis3p exonuclease of yeast exosome, and partially complements the superkiller phenotype of ski4-1 mutation. The elimination of the N-terminal third of Ski4p does not affect its activity, indicating that it is dispensable for RNA degradation. We have also identified the point mutation G152E in hCSL4, equivalent to the ski4-1 mutation G253E, which impairs the activity of the protein, thus validating our approach of using yeast RNA virus to analyse the exosome of higher eukaryotes.

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