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, 565 (7741), 612-617

Introns Are Mediators of Cell Response to Starvation


Introns Are Mediators of Cell Response to Starvation

Julie Parenteau et al. Nature.


Introns are ubiquitous features of all eukaryotic cells. Introns need to be removed from nascent messenger RNA through the process of splicing to produce functional proteins. Here we show that the physical presence of introns in the genome promotes cell survival under starvation conditions. A systematic deletion set of all known introns in budding yeast genes indicates that, in most cases, cells with an intron deletion are impaired when nutrients are depleted. This effect of introns on growth is not linked to the expression of the host gene, and was reproduced even when translation of the host mRNA was blocked. Transcriptomic and genetic analyses indicate that introns promote resistance to starvation by enhancing the repression of ribosomal protein genes that are downstream of the nutrient-sensing TORC1 and PKA pathways. Our results reveal functions of introns that may help to explain their evolutionary preservation in genes, and uncover regulatory mechanisms of cell adaptations to starvation.

Comment in

  • Intron RNA Sequences Help Yeast Cells to Survive Starvation
    SR Edwards et al. Nature 565 (7741), 578-579. PMID 30683935.
    Intron sequences are removed from newly synthesized RNA and usually rapidly degraded. However, it now seems that introns have a surprising role — helping yeast cells surv …

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