Molecular and cellular biology

mTOR signaling regulates nucleolar targeting of the SUMO-specific isopeptidase SENP3.

PMID 25288641


Ribosome biogenesis is a multistep cellular pathway that involves more than 200 regulatory components to ultimately generate translation-competent 80S ribosomes. The initial steps of this process, particularly rRNA processing, take place in the nucleolus, while later stages occur in the nucleoplasm and cytoplasm. One critical factor of 28S rRNA maturation is the SUMO-isopeptidase SENP3. SENP3 tightly interacts with the nucleolar scaffold protein NPM1 and is associated with nucleolar 60S preribosomes. A central question is how changes in energy supply feed into the regulation of ribosome maturation. Here, we show that the nutrient-sensing mTOR kinase pathway controls the nucleolar targeting of SENP3 by regulating its interaction with NPM1. We define an N-terminal domain in SENP3 as the critical NPM1 binding region and provide evidence that mTOR-mediated phosphorylation of serine/threonine residues within this region fosters the interaction of SENP3 with NPM1. The inhibition of mTOR triggers the nucleolar release of SENP3, thereby likely compromising its activity in rRNA processing. Since mTOR activity is tightly coupled to nutrient availability, we propose that this pathway contributes to the adaptation of ribosome maturation in response to the cellular energy status.