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The 3' end of yeast 5.8S rRNA is generated by an exonuclease processing mechanism.

Mitchell P., Petfalski E., Tollervey D.

Eukaryotic rRNAs (with the exception of 5S rRNA) are synthesized from a contiguous pre-rRNA precursor by a complex series of processing reactions. Final maturation of yeast 5.8S rRNA involves processing of a 3'-extended, 7S precursor that contains approximately 140 nucleotides of the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region. In yeast strains carrying the temperature-sensitive (ts) rrp4-1 mutation, 5.8S rRNA species were observed with 3' extensions of variable length extending up to the 3' end of the 7S pre-rRNA. These 3'-extended 5.8S rRNA species were observed at low levels in rrp4-1 strains under conditions permissive for growth and increased in abundance upon transfer to the nonpermissive temperature. The RRP4 gene was cloned by complementation of the ts growth phenotype of rrp4-1 strains. RRP4 encodes an essential protein of 39-kD predicted molecular mass. Immunoprecipitated Rrp4p exhibited a 3'-->5' exoribonuclease activity in vitro that required RNA with a 3'-terminal hydroxyl group and released nucleoside 5' monophosphates. We conclude that the 7S pre-rRNA is processed to 5.8S rRNA by a 3'-->5' exonuclease activity involving Rrp4p. Homologs of Rrp4p are found in both humans and fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe (43% and 52% identity, respectively), suggesting that the mechanism of 5.8S rRNA 3' end formation has been conserved throughout eukaryotes.

Genes Dev. 10:502-513(1996) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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