MicroRNAs are small (22 nucleotide) regulatory molecules that play important roles in a wide variety of biological processes. These RNAs, which bind to targeted mRNAs via limited base pairing interactions, act to reduce protein production from those mRNAs. Considerable evidence indicates that miRNAs destabilize targeted mRNAs by recruiting enzymes that function in normal mRNA decay and mRNA degradation is widely thought to occur when mRNAs are in a ribosome free state. Nevertheless, when examined, miRNA targeted mRNAs are invariably found to be polysome associated; observations that appear to be at face value incompatible with a simple decay model. Here, we provide evidence that turnover of miRNA-targeted mRNAs occurs while they are being translated. Cotranslational mRNA degradation is initiated by decapping and proceeds 5' to 3' behind the last translating ribosome. These results provide an explanation for a long standing mystery in the miRNA field.
- Douglas L Black, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
© 2016, Tat et al.
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Hemocytes, similar to vertebrate blood cells, play important roles in insect development and immunity, but it is not well understood how they perform their tasks. New technology, in particular single-cell transcriptomic analysis in combination with Drosophila genetics, may now change this picture. This review aims to make sense of recently published data, focusing on Drosophila melanogaster and comparing to data from other drosophilids, the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and the silkworm, Bombyx mori. Basically, the new data support the presence of a few major classes of hemocytes: (1) a highly heterogenous and plastic class of professional phagocytes with many functions, called plasmatocytes in Drosophila and granular cells in other insects. (2) A conserved class of cells that control melanin deposition around parasites and wounds, called crystal cells in D. melanogaster, and oenocytoids in other insects. (3) A new class of cells, the primocytes, so far only identified in D. melanogaster. They are related to cells of the so-called posterior signaling center of the larval hematopoietic organ, which controls the hematopoiesis of other hemocytes. (4) Different kinds of specialized cells, like the lamellocytes in D. melanogaster, for the encapsulation of parasites. These cells undergo rapid evolution, and the homology relationships between such cells in different insects are uncertain. Lists of genes expressed in the different hemocyte classes now provide a solid ground for further investigation of function.
The p97 / Cdc48 ATPase and its ubiquitin receptors Ufd1-Npl4 are essential to unfold ubiquitylated proteins in many areas of eukaryotic cell biology. In yeast, Cdc48-Ufd1-Npl4 is controlled by a quality control mechanism, whereby substrates must be conjugated to at least five ubiquitins. Here we show that mammalian p97-UFD1-NPL4 is governed by a complex interplay between additional p97 cofactors and the number of conjugated ubiquitins. Using reconstituted assays for the disassembly of ubiquitylated CMG (Cdc45-MCM-GINS) helicase by human p97-UFD1-NPL4, we show that the unfoldase has a high ubiquitin threshold for substrate unfolding, which can be reduced by the UBX proteins UBXN7, FAF1 or FAF2. Our data indicate that the UBX proteins function by binding to p97-UFD1-NPL4 and stabilising productive interactions between UFD1-NPL4 and K48-linked chains of at least five ubiquitins. Stimulation by UBXN7 is dependent upon known ubiquitin binding motifs, whereas FAF1 and FAF2 use a previously uncharacterised coiled-coil domain to reduce the ubiquitin threshold of p97-UFD1-NPL4. We show that deleting the Ubnx7 and Faf1 genes impairs CMG disassembly during S-phase and mitosis and sensitises cells to reduced ubiquitin ligase activity. These findings indicate that multiple UBX proteins are important for the efficient unfolding of ubiquitylated proteins by p97-UFD1-NPL4 in mammalian cells.