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Biol Open. 2018 Nov 22;7(11). pii: bio037911. doi: 10.1242/bio.037911.

PWP1 promotes nutrient-responsive expression of 5S ribosomal RNA.

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Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00790 Helsinki, Finland.
Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, 00790 Helsinki, Finland.
Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00790 Helsinki, Finland


PWP1 is a chromatin binding protein with an important role in animal growth control downstream of mTOR-mediated nutrient sensing. PWP1 has been shown to control tissue growth by promoting the transcription of 5.8S, 18S and 28S ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) by RNA polymerase I (Pol I). Concomitantly with Pol I, RNA Polymerase III (Pol III) contributes to ribosome biogenesis by transcribing 5S rRNA in the nucleoplasm. Pol III activity is also closely controlled by nutrient-dependent signaling, however, how the activities of Pol I and Pol III are coordinated in response to nutrient-derived signals remains insufficiently understood. Experiments in Drosophila larvae and human cells reported here show that PWP1 associates with the chromatin at the 5S rDNA loci and is needed for nutrient-induced expression of 5S rRNA. Similar to the Pol I target rDNAs, PWP1 epigenetically maintains 5S rDNA in a transcription competent state. Thus, as a common regulator of Pol I and Pol III, PWP1 might contribute to coordinated control of ribosomal gene expression in response to nutrition.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.


5S ribosomal RNA; NCLB; Nutrient; PWP1; RNA polymerase III; Transcription

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing or financial interests.

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