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Schreieck, Amelie (2013): Role of the RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain in transcription termination and function of Spt5 in 3' RNA-processing factor recruitment. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy



Protein-coding genes in eukaryotes are transcribed by RNA polymerase II (Pol II). This process is tightly regulated and coupled to RNA processing. Many transcription and RNA processing factors are recruited to Pol II via its conserved C-terminal domain (CTD) containing 27 heptapeptide repeats of the consensus sequence Tyr1-Ser2-Pro3-Thr4-Ser5-Pro6-Ser7 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These repeats can be differentially phosphorylated during the transcription cycle serving as a code for interacting factors. During transcription initiation, Ser5 is phosphorylated at the 5’-end of genes and this phosphorylation is required for RNA capping enzyme binding. During transcription elongation, the Pol II CTD becomes phosphorylated at Tyr1 and Ser2 and binds the elongation factor Spt5. Spt5 also contains a repetitive C-terminal region (CTR) required for cotranscriptional recruitment of proteins. At the 3’-end of genes, Ser2-phosphorylated Pol II associates with the cleavage and polyadenylation factor (CPF) and is dephosphorylated at Tyr1 residues. This work shows that CPF is a Pol II CTD phosphatase and that its subunit Glc7 dephosphorylates Tyr1 in vitro. In vivo, Glc7 activity is required for normal Tyr1 dephosphorylation at the polyadenylation (pA) site, for recruitment of termination factors Pcf11 and Rtt103, and for normal Pol II termination. These results show that transcription termination involves Tyr1 dephosphorylation of the CTD and indicate that pre-mRNA processing and transcription termination are coupled via CPF-dependent Pol II Tyr1 dephosphorylation. Additionally, 19 kinases were tested for activity on Tyr1 in yeast by selective inhibition or knock-out in vivo. However, none of the candidates was identified as the Tyr1 kinase. Possibly this enzyme is an atypical kinase not known to be involved in transcription so far. Furthermore, this work reports a new role of the Spt5 CTR in recruitment of RNA 3’-end processing factors. The results show that the Spt5 CTR as well as RNA is required for normal recruitment of the pre-mRNA cleavage factor (CF) I to the 3’-end of yeast genes. Genome-wide ChIP profiling detects occupancy peaks of CFI subunits around 100 base pairs downstream of the pA site of genes. CFI recruitment to this defined region may result from simultaneous binding to the Spt5 CTR, to nascent RNA containing the pA sequence, and to the elongating Pol II isoform that is phosphorylated at Ser2 of the CTD. Consistent with this model, the CTR interacts with CFI in vitro, but is not required for pA site recognition and transcription termination in vivo. In summary, we characterized two new aspects of transcription and RNA processing regulation by two different C-terminal repetitive protein domains. CTD Tyr1 phosphorylation, which is removed by Glc7, regulates termination factor recruitment by masking their binding site, the Spt5 CTR is involved in recruitment of CFI. Both results greatly contribute to a more detailed understanding of the mechanisms involved in transcription termination and RNA 3’-end processing.