Ribonucleases catalyze maturation of functional RNAs or mediate degradation of cellular transcripts, activities that are critical for gene expression control. Here we identify a previously uncharacterized mammalian nuclease family member NEF-sp (RNA exonuclease 5 [REXO5] or LOC81691) as a testis-specific factor. Recombinant human NEF-sp demonstrates a divalent metal ion-dependent 3' → 5' exoribonuclease activity. This activity is specific to single-stranded RNA substrates and is independent of their length. The presence of a 2'-O-methyl modification at the 3' end of the RNA substrate is inhibitory. Ectopically expressed NEF-sp localizes to the nucleolar/nuclear compartment in mammalian cell cultures and this is dependent on an amino-terminal nuclear localization signal. Finally, mice lacking NEF-sp are viable and display normal fertility, likely indicating overlapping functions with other nucleases. Taken together, our study provides the first biochemical and genetic exploration of the role of the NEF-sp exoribonuclease in the mammalian genome.
Keywords: 2610020H08Rik; LOC81691; NEF-sp; Q96IC2; REXO5; REXON; RNA exonuclease 5.
© 2017 Silva et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.