In eukaryotes, the exosome complex degrades RNA backbones and plays key roles in RNA processing and surveillance. It was predicted that RNA substrates are threaded through a central channel. This pathway is conserved between eukaryotic and archaeal complexes, even though nuclease activity was lost from the nine-subunit eukaryotic core (EXO-9) and transferred to associated proteins. The exosome cooperates with nuclear and cytoplasmic cofactors, including RNA helicases Mtr4 and Ski2, respectively. Structures of an RNA-bound exosome and both helicases revealed how substrates are channeled through EXO-9 to the associated nuclease Rrp44. Recent high-throughput analyses provided fresh insights relating exosome structure to its diverse in vivo functions. They also revealed surprisingly high degradation rates for newly synthesized RNAs, particularly RNA polymerase III transcripts.
Keywords: RNA processing; RNA quality control; RNA surveillance; exosome; exosome cofactor.
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