Genetic bypass of essential RNA repair enzymes in budding yeast

RNA. 2018 Mar;24(3):313-323. doi: 10.1261/rna.061788.117. Epub 2017 Dec 6.


RNA repair enzymes catalyze rejoining of an RNA molecule after cleavage of phosphodiester linkages. RNA repair in budding yeast is catalyzed by two separate enzymes that process tRNA exons during their splicing and HAC1 mRNA exons during activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). The RNA ligase Trl1 joins 2',3'-cyclic phosphate and 5'-hydroxyl RNA fragments, creating a phosphodiester linkage with a 2'-phosphate at the junction. The 2'-phosphate is removed by the 2'-phosphotransferase Tpt1. We bypassed the essential functions of TRL1 and TPT1 in budding yeast by expressing "prespliced," intronless versions of the 10 normally intron-containing tRNAs, indicating this repair pathway does not have additional essential functions. Consistent with previous studies, expression of intronless tRNAs failed to rescue the growth of cells with deletions in components of the SEN complex, implying an additional essential role for the splicing endonuclease. The trl1Δ and tpt1Δ mutants accumulate tRNA and HAC1 splicing intermediates indicative of RNA repair defects and are hypersensitive to drugs that inhibit translation. Failure to induce the unfolded protein response in trl1Δ cells grown with tunicamycin is lethal owing to their inability to ligate HAC1 after its cleavage by Ire1. In contrast, tpt1Δ mutants grow in the presence of tunicamycin despite reduced accumulation of spliced HAC1 mRNA. We optimized a PCR-based method to detect RNA 2'-phosphate modifications and show they are present on ligated HAC1 mRNA. These RNA repair mutants enable new studies of the role of RNA repair in cellular physiology.

Keywords: RNA repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Exons / genetics
  • Introns / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Phosphotransferases (Alcohol Group Acceptor) / genetics*
  • RNA / genetics*
  • RNA Ligase (ATP) / genetics*
  • RNA Splicing*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics*
  • Tunicamycin / adverse effects
  • Unfolded Protein Response / drug effects


  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • HAC1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Tunicamycin
  • RNA
  • RNA, Transfer
  • Phosphotransferases (Alcohol Group Acceptor)
  • TPT1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • RNA Ligase (ATP)
  • Trl1 protein, S cerevisiae