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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42962. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042962. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Rhn1, a nuclear protein, is required for suppression of meiotic mRNAs in mitotically dividing fission yeast.

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Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, many meiotic mRNAs are transcribed during mitosis and meiosis and selectively eliminated in mitotic cells. However, this pathway for mRNA decay, called the determinant of selective removal (DSR)-Mmi1 system, targets only some of the numerous meiotic mRNAs that are transcribed in mitotic cells. Here we describe Rhn1, a nuclear protein involved in meiotic mRNA suppression in vegetative fission yeast. Rhn1 is homologous to budding yeast Rtt103 and localizes to one or a few discrete nuclear dots in growing vegetative cells. Rhn1 colocalizes with a pre-mRNA 3'-end processing factor, Pcf11, and with the 5'-3' exoribonuclease, Dhp1; moreover, Rhn1 coimmunoprecipitates with Pcf11. Loss of rhn1 results in elevated sensitivity to high temperature, to thiabendazole (TBZ), and to UV. Interestingly, meiotic mRNAs--including moa1(+), mcp5(+), and mug96(+)--accumulate in mitotic rhn1Δ cells. Accumulation of meiotic mRNAs also occurs in strains lacking Lsk1, a kinase that phosphorylates serine 2 (Ser-2) in the C-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II (Pol II), and in strains lacking Sen1, an ATP-dependent 5'-3' RNA/DNA helicase: notably, both Lsk1 and Sen1 have been implicated in termination of Pol II-dependent transcription. Furthermore, RNAi knockdown of cids-2, a Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog of rhn1(+), leads to elevated expression of a germline-specific gene, pgl-1, in somatic cells. These results indicate that Rhn1 contributes to the suppression of meiotic mRNAs in vegetative fission yeast and that the mechanism by which Rhn1 downregulates germline-specific transcripts may be conserved in unicellular and multicellular organisms.

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