Synthesis of mRNA in eukaryotes involves the coordinated action of many enzymatic processes, including initiation, elongation, splicing and cleavage. Kinetic competition between these processes has been proposed to determine RNA fate, yet such coupling has never been observed in vivo on single transcripts. Here, we use dual-color single-molecule RNA imaging in living human cells to construct a complete kinetic profile of transcription and splicing of the β-globin gene. We find that kinetic competition results in multiple competing pathways for pre-mRNA splicing. Splicing of the terminal intron occurs stochastically both before and after transcript release, indicating there is not a strict quality control checkpoint. The majority of pre-mRNAs are spliced after release, while diffusing away from the site of transcription. A single missense point mutation (S34F) in the essential splicing factor U2AF1 which occurs in human cancers perturbs this kinetic balance and defers splicing to occur entirely post-release.
- Douglas L Black, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
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The cohesin complex plays essential roles in chromosome segregation, 3D genome organisation, and DNA damage repair through its ability to modify DNA topology. In higher eukaryotes, meiotic chromosome function, and therefore fertility, requires cohesin complexes containing meiosis-specific kleisin subunits: REC8 and RAD21L in mammals and REC-8 and COH-3/4 in Caenorhabditis elegans. How these complexes perform the multiple functions of cohesin during meiosis and whether this involves different modes of DNA binding or dynamic association with chromosomes is poorly understood. Combining time-resolved methods of protein removal with live imaging and exploiting the temporospatial organisation of the C. elegans germline, we show that REC-8 complexes provide sister chromatid cohesion (SCC) and DNA repair, while COH-3/4 complexes control higher-order chromosome structure. High-abundance COH-3/4 complexes associate dynamically with individual chromatids in a manner dependent on cohesin loading (SCC-2) and removal (WAPL-1) factors. In contrast, low-abundance REC-8 complexes associate stably with chromosomes, tethering sister chromatids from S-phase until the meiotic divisions. Our results reveal that kleisin identity determines the function of meiotic cohesin by controlling the mode and regulation of cohesin–DNA association, and are consistent with a model in which SCC and DNA looping are performed by variant cohesin complexes that coexist on chromosomes.
Though long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) represent a substantial fraction of the Pol II transcripts in multicellular animals, only a few have known functions. Here we report that the blocking activity of the Bithorax complex (BX-C) Fub-1 boundary is segmentally regulated by its own lncRNA. The Fub-1 boundary is located between the Ultrabithorax (Ubx) gene and the bxd/pbx regulatory domain, which is responsible for regulating Ubx expression in parasegment PS6/segment A1. Fub-1 consists of two hypersensitive sites, HS1 and HS2. HS1 is an insulator while HS2 functions primarily as an lncRNA promoter. To activate Ubx expression in PS6/A1, enhancers in the bxd/pbx domain must be able to bypass Fub-1 blocking activity. We show that the expression of the Fub-1 lncRNAs in PS6/A1 from the HS2 promoter inactivates Fub-1 insulating activity. Inactivation is due to read-through as the HS2 promoter must be directed toward HS1 to disrupt blocking.