Rpb4 functions mainly in mRNA synthesis by RNA polymerase II [RNA]

May 5th, 2014 by Schulz, D., Pirkl, N., Lehmann, E., Cramer, P.

RNA polymerase II (Pol II) is the central enzyme that carries out eukaryotic mRNA transcription and consists of a 10-subunit catalytic core and a subcomplex of subunits Rpb4 and Rpb7 (Rpb4/7). Rpb4/7 has been proposed to dissociate from Pol II, enter the cytoplasm, and function there in mRNA translation and degradation. Here we provide evidence that Rpb4 mainly functions in nuclear mRNA synthesis by Pol II, and evidence arguing against an important cytoplasmic role in mRNA degradation. We used metabolic RNA labeling and comparative Dynamic Transcriptome Analysis (cDTA) to show that Rpb4 deletion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae causes a drastic defect in mRNA synthesis that is compensated by down-regulation of mRNA degradation, resulting in mRNA level buffering. Deletion of Rpb4 can be rescued by covalent fusion of Rpb4 to the Pol II core subunit Rpb2, which largely restores mRNA synthesis and degradation defects caused by Rpb4 deletion. Thus Rpb4 is a bona fide Pol II core subunit which functions mainly in mRNA synthesis.