Differential uncoupling of 5' and 3' exonucleolytic activities as determined by mutational analysis of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae exoribonuclease, RAT1
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Eukaryotic gene expression requires hundreds of proteins and several RNA factors to facilitate nuclear RNA processing. These RNA processing events include RNA transcription, pre-mRNA splicing, pre-ribosomal RNA (pre-rRNA) processing and trafficking of RNA to its proper location in the cell. As we learn more about the molecular details of the factors governing these highly coordinated processes it is becoming increasingly clear that a subset of factors participate in multiple RNA processing pathways to ensure faithful gene expression. Our work completes the characterization of the Abelson pre-mRNA splicing mutants. We have discovered that the prp27-1 splicing mutant is a severe loss of function allele of RAT1, an essential 5’→3’ exoribonuclease. Several alleles of RAT1 have been previously isolated with each conferring an array of phenotypes thus making the elucidation of its essential in vivo function difficult. We set out to determine how mutations within a specific region determines the RNA processing pathway in which Rat1p has been implicated to function within. In our analysis of Rat1p function we discovered the prp27-1 allele exhibits novel 3’ end processing defects never reported in previous rat1 mutants. We performed mutational analysis to examine the coupling of 5’ and 3’ exonucleolytic activities in nuclear RNA processing events. Through our study we have discovered a means by which the cell coordinately regulates the nuclear RNA degradation complexes to ensure efficient processing of pre-RNAs for the faithful execution of eukaryotic gene expression. Additionally, we offer evidence in support of role for Rat1p in promoting mitotic events in vivo.