Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Eric Wagner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Blackburn, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Phillip Carpenter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joel Neilson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ambro van Hoof, Ph.D.


Uridine-rich small nuclear (U snRNAs), with the exception of the U6 snRNA, are RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) transcripts. The mechanism of 3’ cleavage of snRNAs has been unknown until recently. This area was greatly advanced when 12 of the Integrator complex subunits (IntS) were purified in 2005 through their interaction with the C-terminal domain (CTD) of the large subunit (RpbI) of RNAPII. Subsequently, our lab performed a genome-wide RNAi screen that identified two more members of the complex that we have termed IntS13 and IntS14. We have determined that IntS9 and 11 mediate the 3’ cleavage of snRNAs, but the exact function of the other subunits remains unknown. However, through the use of a U7 snRNA-GFP reporter and RNAi knockdown of the Integrator subunits in Drosophila S2 cells, we have shown that all subunits are required for the proper processing of snRNAs, albeit to differing degrees. Because snRNA transcription takes place in the nucleus of the cell, it is expected that all of the Integrator subunits would exhibit nuclear localization, but the knowledge of discrete subnuclear localization (i.e. to Cajal bodies) of any of the subunits could provide important clues to the function of that subunit. In this study, we used a cell biological approach to determine the localization of the 14 Integrator subunits. We hypothesized that the majority of the subunits would be nuclear, however, a few would display distinct localization to the Cajal bodies, as this is where snRNA genes are localized and transcribed. The specific aims and results are: 1. To determine the subcellular localization of the 14 Integrator subunits. To accomplish this, mCherry and GFP tagged clones were generated for each of the 14 Drosophila and human Integrator subunits. Confocal microscopy studies revealed that the majority of the subunits were diffuse in the nucleus, however, IntS3 formed discrete subnuclear foci. Surprisingly, two of the subunits, IntS2 and 7 were observed in cytoplasmic foci. 2. To further characterize Integrator subunits with unique subcellular localizations. Colocalization studies with endogenous IntS3 and Cajal body marker, coilin, showed that these two proteins overlap, and from this we concluded that IntS3 localized to Cajal bodies. Additionally, colocalization studies with mCherry-tagged IntS2 and 7 and the P body marker, Dcp1, revealed that these proteins colocalize as well. IntS7, however, is more stable in cytoplasmic foci than Dcp1. It was also shown through RNAi knockdown of Integrator subunits, that the cytoplasmic localization of IntS2 and 7 is dependent on the expression of IntS1 and 11 in S2 cells.


Integrator, snRNA, 3' end processing, snRNP, P bodies, Cajal bodies