In fission yeast, meiosis-specific transcripts are selectively eliminated during vegetative growth by the combined action of the YTH-family RNA-binding protein Mmi1 and the nuclear exosome. Upon nutritional starvation, the master regulator of meiosis Mei2 inactivates Mmi1, thereby allowing expression of the meiotic program. Here, we show that the E3 ubiquitin ligase subunit Not4/Mot2 of the evolutionarily conserved Ccr4-Not complex, which associates with Mmi1, promotes suppression of meiotic transcripts expression in mitotic cells. Our analyses suggest that Mot2 directs ubiquitination of Mei2 to preserve the activity of Mmi1 during vegetative growth. Importantly, Mot2 is not involved in the constitutive pathway of Mei2 turnover, but rather plays a regulatory role to limit its accumulation or inhibit its function. We propose that Mmi1 recruits the Ccr4-Not complex to counteract its own inhibitor Mei2, thereby locking the system in a stable state that ensures the repression of the meiotic program by Mmi1.
Keywords: Ccr4-Not complex; RNA degradation; S. pombe; YTH-family RNA-binding protein Mmi1; chromosomes; fission yeast sexual differentiation; genes; meiosis inducer Mei2; protein ubiquitination.