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Genes Dev. 2011 May 15;25(10):1078-90. doi: 10.1101/gad.2045411.

Human eIF4AIII interacts with an eIF4G-like partner, NOM1, revealing an evolutionarily conserved function outside the exon junction complex.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06536, USA.


Despite the lack of an exon junction complex (EJC), Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains Fal1p, a DEAD-box helicase highly homologous to eIF4AIII. We show that yeast Fal1p is functionally orthologous to human eIF4AIII, since expression of human eIF4AIII complements both the lethal phenotype and the 18S rRNA biogenesis defect of fal1Δ(null) yeast. We further show that yeast Fal1p interacts genetically with an eIF4G-like protein, Sgd1p: One allele of sgd1 acts as a dominant extragenic suppressor of a mutation in a predicted RNA-binding residue of Fal1p, whereas another synthetically exacerbates the growth defect of this fal1 mutation. Both sgd1 mutations map to a single, short, evolutionarily conserved patch that matches key eIF4A-interacting residues of eIF4G when superimposed on the X-ray structure of the eIF4A/eIF4G complex. We demonstrate direct physical interactions between yeast Sgd1p and Fal1p, and between their human orthologs (NOM1 and eIF4AIII) in vitro and in vivo, identifying human NOM1 as a missing eIF4G-like interacting partner of eIF4AIII. Knockdown of eIF4AIII and NOM1 in human cells demonstrates that this novel conserved eIF4A/eIF4G-like complex acts in pre-rRNA processing, adding to the established functions of eIF4A/eIF4G in translation initiation and of eIF4AIII as the core component of the EJC.

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