Nucleic acids research

Nuclear pore components affect distinct stages of intron-containing gene expression.

PMID 25845599


Several nuclear pore-associated factors, including the SUMO-protease Ulp1, have been proposed to prevent the export of intron-containing messenger ribonucleoparticles (mRNPs) in yeast. However, the molecular mechanisms of this nuclear pore-dependent mRNA quality control, including the sumoylated targets of Ulp1, have remained unidentified. Here, we demonstrate that the apparent 'pre-mRNA leakage' phenotype arising upon ULP1 inactivation is shared by sumoylation mutants of the THO complex, an early mRNP biogenesis factor. Importantly, we establish that alteration of THO complex activity differentially impairs the expression of intronless and intron-containing reporter genes, rather than triggering bona fide 'pre-mRNA leakage'. Indeed, we show that the presence of introns within THO target genes attenuates the effect of THO inactivation on their transcription. Epistasis analyses further clarify that different nuclear pore components influence intron-containing gene expression at distinct stages. Ulp1, whose maintenance at nuclear pores depends on the Nup84 complex, impacts on THO-dependent gene expression, whereas the nuclear basket-associated Mlp1/Pml39 proteins prevent pre-mRNA export at a later stage, contributing to mRNA quality control. Our study thus highlights the multiplicity of mechanisms by which nuclear pores contribute to gene expression, and further provides the first evidence that intronic sequences can alleviate early mRNP biogenesis defects.