Sub2p/UAP56 is a highly conserved DEAD-box RNA helicase involved in the packaging and nuclear export of mRNA/protein particles (mRNPs). In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Sub2p is recruited to active chromatin by the pentameric THO complex and incorporated into the larger transcription-export (TREX) complex. Sub2p also plays a role in the maintenance of genome integrity as its inactivation causes severe transcription-dependent recombination of DNA. Despite the central role of Sub2p in early mRNP biology, little is known about its function. Here, we report the presence of an N-terminal motif (NTM) conserved specifically in the Sub2p branch of RNA helicases. Mutation of the NTM causes nuclear accumulation of poly(A)(+) RNA and impaired growth without affecting core helicase functions. Thus, the NTM functions as an autonomous unit. Moreover, two sub2 mutants, that are deficient in ATP binding, act in a trans-dominant negative fashion for growth and induce high recombination rates in vivo. Although wild-type Sub2p is prevented access to transcribed loci in such a background, this does not mechanistically explain the phenotype.
Keywords: RNA; RNA export; RNA helicase; genome stability.