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Rat1p and Xrn1p are functionally interchangeable exoribonucleases that are restricted to and required in the nucleus and cytoplasm, respectively.

Johnson A.W.

XRN1 encodes an abundant cytoplasmic exoribonuclease, Xrn1p, responsible for mRNA turnover in yeast. A screen for bypass suppressors of the inviability of xrn1 ski2 double mutants identified dominant alleles of RAT1, encoding an exoribonuclease homologous with Xrn1p. These RAT1 alleles restored XRN1-like functions, including cytoplasmic RNA turnover, wild-type sensitivity to the microtubule-destabilizing drug benomyl, and sporulation. The mutations were localized to a region of the RAT1 gene encoding a putative bipartite nuclear localization sequence (NLS). Fusions to green fluorescent protein were used to demonstrate that wild-type Rat1p is localized to the nucleus and that the mutant alleles result in mislocalization of Rat1p to the cytoplasm. Conversely, targeting Xrn1p to the nucleus by the addition of the simian virus 40 large-T-antigen NLS resulted in complementation of the temperature sensitivity of a rat1-1 strain. These results indicate that Xrn1p and Rat1p are functionally interchangeable exoribonucleases that function in and are restricted to the cytoplasm and nucleus, respectively. It is likely that the higher eukaryotic homologs of these proteins will function similarly in the cytoplasm and nucleus.

Mol. Cell. Biol. 17:6122-6130(1997) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]