Date of Graduation
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Ann-Bin Shyu, Ph. D.
Carmen W. Dessauer, Ph. D.
Ambro Van Hoof, Ph. D.
Jian Kuang, Ph. D.
Richard E. Lloyd, Ph. D.
Most newly synthesized messenger RNAs possess a 5’ cap and a 3’ poly(A) tail. The process of poly(A) tail shortening, also termed deadenylation, is important for post-transcriptional gene regulation, because deadenylation not only leads to mRNA translational inhibition but also is the first step of major mRNA degradation. Translationally inhibited mRNAs can be stored and/or degraded in dynamic cytoplasmic foci termed mRNA processing bodies, or P bodies, which are conserved in eukaryotes.
To shed new light on the mechanisms of P body formation and P body functions, I focused on the link between deadenylation factors and P bodies. I found that the two major deadenylation complexes, Pan3-Pan2 and Ccr4-Caf1, can both be enriched in P bodies. The deadenylase activity of the Ccr4-Caf1 complex is prerequisite for P body formation. Pan3, but not the deadenylase Pan2, is essential for P body formation. While the C-terminal domain of Pan3 is important for interaction with Pan2, Pan3 N-terminal domain is important for Pan3 to form cytoplasmic foci colocalizing with P bodies and to promote mRNA decay. Interestingly, Pan3 N-terminal domain may be phosphorylated to regulate Pan3 localization and functions. Aside from the functions of the two deadenylation complexes in P bodies, I also studied all reported human P body proteins as a whole using bioinformatics. This effort not only has generated a comprehensive picture of the functions of and interactions among human P body proteins, but also has predicted proteins that may regulate P body formation and/or functions.
In summary, my study has established a direct link between mRNA deadenylation and P body formation and has also led to new hypotheses to guide future research on how P body dynamics are controlled.
Deadenylation, mRNA processing body, Pan3, Pan2, Caf1