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Mol Cell. 2019 Mar 21;73(6):1217-1231.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2018.12.023. Epub 2019 Feb 5.

Activation of the Endonuclease that Defines mRNA 3' Ends Requires Incorporation into an 8-Subunit Core Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factor Complex.

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MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK.
Centre for Integrative Biology, Department of Integrated Structural Biology, Institute of Genetics and of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Illkirch, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR 7104, Illkirch, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France; INSERM U964, Illkirch, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK. Electronic address:


Cleavage and polyadenylation factor (CPF/CPSF) is a multi-protein complex essential for formation of eukaryotic mRNA 3' ends. CPF cleaves pre-mRNAs at a specific site and adds a poly(A) tail. The cleavage reaction defines the 3' end of the mature mRNA, and thus the activity of the endonuclease is highly regulated. Here, we show that reconstitution of specific pre-mRNA cleavage with recombinant yeast proteins requires incorporation of the Ysh1 endonuclease into an eight-subunit "CPFcore" complex. Cleavage also requires the accessory cleavage factors IA and IB, which bind substrate pre-mRNAs and CPF, likely facilitating assembly of an active complex. Using X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and mass spectrometry, we determine the structure of Ysh1 bound to Mpe1 and the arrangement of subunits within CPFcore. Together, our data suggest that the active mRNA 3' end processing machinery is a dynamic assembly that is licensed to cleave only when all protein factors come together at the polyadenylation site.


X-ray crystallography; baculovirus; cleavage; cryo-EM; hydrogen-deuterium exchange; mRNA; mass spectrometry; nuclease; polyadenylation; pre-mRNA

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