Insights into the regulation of the DEAH-box helicase Prp43p through its interactions with three G-patch proteins
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The RNA helicase Prp43p is one of the few members of the DEAH-box helicase family that is known to operate in more than one cellular process in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. With roles in ribosome biogenesis and pre-mRNA splicing, Prp43p may be important in maintaining a communication conduit between these two pathways. Our studies provide insights into how Prp43p function is regulated through the use of three cofactors, Ntr1p, Pfa1p, and Gno1p, all of which interact with Prp43p at different steps of pre-mRNA splicing or ribosome biogenesis. Each cofactor contains a unique G-patch domain and our data show that they associate with Prp43p in a mutually exclusive manner. A strong growth defect and RNA processing phenotypes are seen upon overexpression of Pfa1p due to the dominance of Pfa1p interaction with Prp43p. Moreover, excess Pfa1p precludes Prp43p from interacting with either 35S pre-rRNA or U6 snRNA, indicating this one cofactor can negatively regulate Prp43p recruitment into ribosome biogenesis and pre-mRNA splicing pathways, respectively. We have determined that Ntr1p and Gno1p are able to compete with one another for Prp43p occupancy. Similar to Ntr1p, we show that the G-patch domain of Gno1p contributes to its association with Prp43p. To further understand pathway specificity of Prp43p, we characterized conditional prp43 alleles with mutations C-terminal to the conserved RecA domains of Prp43p. These novel alleles affect pre-mRNA splicing and ribosome biogenesis, though none are mutually exclusive. Multiple prp43 alleles are deficient in tri-snRNP formation, a previously uncharacterized phenotype in prp43 mutants. The majority of our prp43 mutants display varying rRNA defects, with some alleles impacting ribosome biogenesis more severely or moderately than known prp43 ATPase mutants. To correlate the processing defects seen in each allele, we have determined the extent of association of the mutants with each G-patch protein. Altogether, our data support a working model for Prp43p in which its substrate specificity, activation, and cellular distribution is coordinated through the efforts of the three G-patch proteins in yeast and sheds light on potential mechanisms of general DExH/D helicase function and regulation.