Year of Publication

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Brian C Rymond

Abstract

The spliceosome is a complex, dynamic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex that undergoes numerous conformational changes during its assembly, activation, catalysis and disassembly. Defects in spliceosome assembly are thought to trigger active dissociation of faulty splicing complexes. A yeast genetic screen was performed to identify components of the putative discard pathway. This study found that weak mutant alleles of SPP382 suppress defects in several proteins required for spliceosome activation (Prp38p, Prp8p and Prp19p) as well as substrate mutations (weak branch point mutants). This evolutionary conserved protein had been found in both yeast and mammalian splicing complexes. However, its role in splicing had not been elucidated. This study focused on understanding the cellular role of Spp382p in splicing and particularly in the discard pathway. Spp382p was found to be essential for normal splicing and for efficient intron turnover. Since Spp382p binds Prp43p and is required for intron release in vitro, spp382 mediated suppression of splicing factor mutations might reflect lowered Prp43p activity. In agreement with this, we find that prp43 mutants also act as suppressors. This leads us to propose a model in which defects in spliceosome assembly, like those caused by prp38-1, prompt Spp382p-mediated disassembly of the defective complex via Prp43p Bolstering this theory, we find that Spp382p is specifically recruited to defective complexes lacking the 5 exon cleavage intermediate and spp382 mutants suppress other splicing defects. I show by stringent proteomic and two-hybrid analyses that Spp382p interacts with Cwc23p, a DnaJ-like protein present in the spliceosome and co-purified the Prp43p-DExD/H-box protein. In this study, I also show that Cwc23p is itself essential for splicing and normal intron turnover. Enhanced expression of another protein, Sqs1p, structurally related to Spp382p and also found associated with Prp43p is inhibitory to both growth and splicing. Synthetic lethal and dosage suppression studies bolster a functional linkage between Spp382p, Cwc23p, Sqs1p and Prp43p and together, the data support the existence of a Spp382p -dependent spliceosome integrity (SPIN) complex acting to remove defective spliceosomes.

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