Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Brian C. Rymond


The DExD/H-box protein Prp43 is essential for two biological processes: nucleoplasmic pre-mRNA splicing and nucleolar rRNA maturation. The biological basis for the temporal and spatial regulation of Prp43 remains elusive. The Spp382/Ntr1, Sqs1/Pfa1 and Pxr1/Gno1 G-patch proteins bind to and activate the Prp43 DExD/H box-helicase in pre-mRNA splicing (Spp382) and rRNA processing (Sqs1, Pxr1). These Prp43-interacting proteins each contain the G-patch domain, a conserved sequence of ~48 amino acids that includes 6 highly conserved glycine (G) residues. Five annotated G-patch proteins in baker’s yeast (i.e., Spp382, Pxr1, Spp2, Sqs1 and Ylr271) and with the possible exception of the uncharacterized Ylr271 protein, all are associated with ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes.

Understanding the role of G-patch proteins in modulating the DExD/H box protein Prp43 biological function was the motivation of this thesis. The G-patch domain has been proposed as a protein-protein or a protein-RNA interaction module for RNP proteins. This study found that the three Prp43-associated G-patch domains interact with Prp43 in a yeast 2 hybrid (Y2H) assay but differ in apparent relative affinities. Using a systemic Y2H analysis, I identified the conserved Winged-helix (WH) domain in Prp43 as a major binding site for G-patch motif. Intriguingly, removal of the non-essential N-terminal domain (NTD) of Prp43 (amino acids 2-94), greatly improves G-patch binding, suggesting that the NTD may play a role in modulating enzyme activity by the G-patch effectors. I identify a second site within the Pxr1 that strongly binds Prp43 but, unlike the G-patch, is dispensable for Pxr1 function in vivo.

By constructing chimeric proteins, I demonstrated that individual G-patch peptides differ in the ability to reconstitute Spp382 and Pxr1 function in support of pre-mRNA splicing and rRNA biogenesis, respectively. Through amino acid sequence comparisons and selective mutagenesis I identified several residues within the G-patch motif critical for Prp43-stimulated pre-mRNA splicing without greatly altering its ability to bind Prp43. These data lead me to propose that the G-patch motif is not a simple Prp43 binding interface but may contribute more directly to substrate selection or Prp43 enzyme activation in the biologically distinct pre-mRNA splicing and rRNA processing pathways.