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ZFC3H1 and U1-70K promote the nuclear retention of mRNAs with 5' splice site motif within nuclear speckles

By Eliza S. Lee, Harrison W. Smith, Eric J. Wolf, Aysegul Guvenek, Andrew Emili, Bin Tian, Alexander F Palazzo

Posted 10 Jun 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.06.08.447610

Quality control of mRNA represents an important regulatory mechanism for gene expression in eukaryotes. One component of this quality control is the nuclear retention and decay of misprocessed RNAs. Previously, we demonstrated that mature mRNAs containing a 5' splice site (5'SS) motif, which is typically found in misprocessed RNAs such as intronic polyadenylated (IPA) transcripts, are nuclear retained and degraded. Here we demonstrate that these transcripts require the zinc finger protein ZFC3H1 for their decay and nuclear retention into nuclear speckles. Furthermore, we find that U1-70K, a component of the U1 snRNP spliceosomal complex, is also required for their nuclear retention and likely functions in the same pathway as ZFC3H1. Finally, we show that the disassembly of nuclear speckles impairs the nuclear retention of mRNAs with 5'SS motifs. Together, our results suggest a model where mRNAs with 5'SS motifs are recognized by U1 snRNP, which then acts with ZFC3H1 to both promote their decay and prevent nuclear export of these mRNAs by sequestering them in nuclear speckles. Our results highlight a splicing independent role of U1 snRNP and indicate that it works in conjunction with ZFC3H1 in preventing the nuclear export of misprocessed mRNAs.

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