Upon acute heat stress (HS), overall mRNA transcription, processing, and export are inhibited, leading to cell growth arrest. However, how cells turn off mRNA metabolism is not fully understood. Here, we show that acute HS results in the segregation and aggregation of multiple nuclear and nucleolar proteins into ring-like structures located at the nucleolar periphery (nucleolar rings [NuRs]). NuRs sequester essential factors required for nuclear mRNA metabolism and nuclear pore complex function, as well as cell-cycle regulators. When cells are switched back to growing temperatures, NuRs disaggregate, and their components relocate to their functional environments in an Hsf1- and Hsp104-dependent manner, and concomitantly with the reinitiation of cell growth. These findings highlight the contribution of reversible protein aggregation to the inhibition of overall RNA-related activities in the nucleus and its functional relevance in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis during acute HS.
Keywords: Hsf1; Hsp104; cell cycle; cell growth; heat shock; heat stress response; mRNA; nuclear pore complex; nucleolus; protein aggregation.
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