Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Agriculture

Department

Plant Physiology

First Advisor

Dr. Arthur G. Hunt

Abstract

Polyadenylation is an essential post-transcriptional modification resulting in a mature mRNA in eukaryotes. Three cis-elements the Far Upstream Element (FUE), Near Upstream Element (NUE), and Cleavage Site (CS) - guide the process of cleavage and polyadenylation with the help of multi-subunit protein complexes cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor (CPSF), cleavage stimulation factor (CstF) along with cleavage factors and poly(A) polymerase. Protein-protein interactions play an important role in the cleavage and polyadenylation process. WD repeat proteins play an important role in protein-protein interactions and have diverse functions in plant system. In the present study WD repeat proteins AtCstF50 and AtFY were studied for their role in polyadenylation process.

Mammalian CstF50 is a WD repeat protein that is one of the subunit of CstF that aids in the cleavage step by associating with CPSF and cleavage factors. AtCstF50 was functionally characterized using T-DNA knock-out lines and by identifying the proteins that interacts with it in the process. Results shows that AtCstF50 is essential and was identified as part of CPSF complex, which is different from its mammalian counter part. CPSF was known to interact with Fip (factor interacting with PAP), Poly(A) polymerase and Poly(A) binding protein and AtCstF50 also interacts with these complexes.

AtFY is a 3’ end processing factor which contains WD repeats is one of the subunits of the CPSF complex in Arabidopsis polyadenylation machinery. The AtFY interacts with FCA and promotes the alternative polyadenylation and also plays a role in polyadenylation site choice of FCA mRNA. We characterized the FY expression and localization of FY in the cell by fusing with RFP reporter. Results show that FY accumulates in the nucleus while FY with deleted calmodulin binding domain localizes both to the nucleus and outside the nucleus. The individual N-terminal and C-terminal domains also localized in the nucleus suggesting that they are multiple nuclear localization signals in FY and calmodulin might play a direct or indirect role in FY localization. Using a tethering assay we proved that AtFY is able to recruit the 3’ end processing complex in the proximal polyadenylation site choice of the reporter mRNA.

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