Replication-dependent histone genes are up-regulated during the G1/S phase transition to meet the requirement for histones to package the newly synthesized DNA. In mammalian cells, this increment is achieved by enhanced transcription and 3' end processing. The non-polyadenylated histone mRNA 3' ends are generated by a unique mechanism involving the U7 small ribonucleoprotein (U7 snRNP). By using affinity purification methods to enrich U7 snRNA, we identified FUS/TLS as a novel U7 snRNP interacting protein. Both U7 snRNA and histone transcripts can be precipitated by FUS antibodies predominantly in the S phase of the cell cycle. Moreover, FUS depletion leads to decreased levels of correctly processed histone mRNAs and increased levels of extended transcripts. Interestingly, FUS antibodies also co-immunoprecipitate histone transcriptional activator NPAT and transcriptional repressor hnRNP UL1 in different phases of the cell cycle. We further show that FUS binds to histone genes in S phase, promotes the recruitment of RNA polymerase II and is important for the activity of histone gene promoters. Thus, FUS may serve as a linking factor that positively regulates histone gene transcription and 3' end processing by interacting with the U7 snRNP and other factors involved in replication-dependent histone gene expression.
© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.