Date of Graduation
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Masters of Science (MS)
Dr. Eric. J. Wagner
Dr. Vasanthi Jayaraman
Dr. Phillip Carpenter
Dr. Ambro VanHoof
Dr. Joel Neilson
Structure-function analysis of human Integrator subunit 4
Advisor: Eric. J. Wagner, Ph.D.
Uridine-rich small nuclear RNAs (U snRNA) are RNA Polymerase-II (RNAPII) transcripts that are ubiquitously expressed and are known to be essential for gene expression. snRNAs play a key role in mRNA splicing and in histone mRNA expression. Inaccurate snRNA biosynthesis can lead to diseases related to defective splicing and histone mRNA expression. Although the 3′ end formation mechanism and processing machinery of other RNAPII transcripts such as mRNA has been well studied, the mechanism of snRNA 3′ end processing has remained a mystery until the recent discovery of the machinery that mediates this process. In 2005, a complex of 14 subunits (the Integrator complex) associated with RNA Polymerase-II was discovered. The 14subunits were annotated Integrator 1-14 based on their size. The subunits of this complex together were found to facilitate 3′ end processing of snRNA. Identification of the Integrator complex propelled research in the direction of understanding the events of snRNA 3’end processing. Recent studies from our lab confirmed that Integrator subunit (IntS) 9 and 11 together perform the endonucleolytic cleavage of the nascent snRNA 3′ end to generate mature snRNA. However, the role of other members of the Integrator complex remains elusive. Current research in our lab is focused on deciphering the role of each subunit within the Integrator complex
This work specifically focuses on elucidating the role of human Integrator subunit 4 (IntS4) and understanding how it facilitates the overall function of the complex. IntS4 has structural similarity with a protein called “Symplekin”, which is part of the mRNA 3’end processing machinery. Symplekin has been thoroughly researched in recent years and structure-function correlation studies in the context of mRNA 3’end processing have reported a scaffold function for Symplekin due to the presence of HEAT repeat motifs in its N-terminus. Based upon the structural similarity between IntS4 and Symplekin, we hypothesized that Integrator subunit 4 may be behaving as a Symplekin-like scaffold molecule that facilitates the interaction between other members of the Integrator Complex. To answer this question, the two important goals of this study were to: 1) identify the region of IntS4, which is important for snRNA 3′ end processing and 2) determine binding partners of IntS4 which promote its function as a scaffold. IntS4 structurally consists of a highly conserved N-terminus with 8 HEAT repeats, followed by a nonconserved C- terminus. A series of siRNA resistant N and C-terminus deletion constructs as well as specific point mutants within its N-terminal HEAT repeats were generated for human IntS4 and, utilizing a snRNA transcriptional readthrough GFP-reporter assay, we tested their ability to rescue misprocessing. This assay revealed a possible scaffold like property of IntS4. To probe IntS4 for interaction partners, we performed co-immunoprecipitation on nuclear extracts of IntS4 expressing stable cell lines and identified IntS3 and IntS5 among other Integrator subunits to be binding partners which facilitate the scaffold like function of hIntS4. These findings have established a critical role for IntS4 in snRNA 3′ end processing, identified that both its N and C termini are essential for its function, and mapped putative interaction domains with other Integrator subunits.
UsnRNA 3’end processing, Integrator subunit-4, Symplekin, HEAT repeats