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EMBO J. 1995 Aug 1;14(15):3800-8.

Autoregulation of expression of the yeast Dbp2p 'DEAD-box' protein is mediated by sequences in the conserved DBP2 intron.

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Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), Epalinges.


The human p68, Saccharomyces cerevisiae DBP2 and Schizosaccharomyces pombe dbp2 genes are closely related members of the 'DEAD-box' RNA helicase superfamily. All three genes contain an intron at a conserved site in RNA helicase motif V. The S.cerevisiae intron is unusual both for its position near the 3'-end of the open reading frame and for its size, 1001 nucleotides. We show here that precise deletion of the intron has no effect on cell viability but leads to an increase in Dbp2p protein expression. Inefficient splicing due to the size of the intron can not account for this difference because the intron is efficiently spliced in Dbp2p-deficient cells. Instead, there is a reciprocal relationship between the amount of Dbp2p in the cell and the efficiency with which DBP2 intron-containing genes are expressed. Inactive Dbp2p mutants are efficiently expressed from DBP2 intron-containing plasmids, and fragments of the DBP2 intron confer Dbp2p-responsiveness on heterologous reporter introns. This suggest that there is an intron-mediated negative feedback loop regulating DBP2 expression, and provides a possible explanation for the retention of such an unusual intron in S.cerevisiae.

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