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EMBO J. 1993 Jul;12(7):2929-37.

Regulation of RNA processing and transport by a nuclear guanine nucleotide release protein and members of the Ras superfamily.

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Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106.


The RCC1 gene of mammals encodes a guanine nucleotide release protein (GNRP). RCC1 and a homolog in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (MTR1/PRP20/SRM1) have previously been implicated in control of mRNA metabolism and export from the nucleus. We here demonstrate that a temperature-sensitive fission yeast mutant which has a mutation in a homologous gene, and two of three additional (mtr1/prp20/srm1) mutants accumulate nuclear poly(A)+ RNA at 37 degrees C. In S.cerevisiae, maturation of rRNA and tRNA is also inhibited at 37 degrees C. Nevertheless, studies with the corresponding BHK-21 cell mutant indicate that protein import into the nucleus continues. MTR1 homologs regulate RNA processing at a point which is distinct from their regulation of chromosome condensation since: (i) poly(A)+ RNA accumulation in the fission yeast mutant precedes chromosome condensation, and (ii) unlike chromosome condensation, accumulation of nuclear poly(A)+ RNA does not require p34cdc28 kinase activation or protein synthesis. Moreover, experiments involving inhibition of DNA synthesis indicate that the S.cerevisiae homolog does not govern cell cycle checkpoint control. Since RCC1p acts as GNRP for Ran, a small nuclear GTPase of the ras superfamily, we have identified two homologs of Ran in S.cerevisiae (CNR1 and CNR2). Only CNR1 is essential, but both code for proteins extremely similar to Ran and can suppress mtr1 mutations in allele-specific fashion. Thus, MTR1 and its homologs appear to act as GNRPs for a family of conserved GTPases in controlling RNA metabolism and transport. Their role in governing checkpoint control appears to be restricted to higher eukaryotes.

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