Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNA lariat debranching enzyme, Dbr1p, is required for completion of reverse transcription by the retrovirus-like element Ty1 and cleaves branched Ty1 RNAs

Abstract

RNA debranching enzymes are 2′-5′ phosphodiesterases found in all eukaryotes. Their main role is cleavage of intron RNA lariat branch points, promoting RNA turnover via exonucleases. Consistent with this role, cells with reduced RNA debranching enzyme activity accumulate intron RNA lariats. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNA debranching enzyme Dbr1p is also a host factor for the yeast long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposon Ty1, a model for many aspects of retroviral replication. Fittingly, the human RNA debranching enzyme Dbr1 is a host factor for the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV-1. The yeast and human RNA debranching enzymes act at the reverse transcription stages for Ty1 and HIV-1, respectively. Although efficient production of full-length Ty1 cDNA requires Dbr1p, the findings reported here indicate that production of the earliest distinct cDNA product, minus strand strong stop DNA (–sssDNA), is equivalent in wild type and dbr1∆ mutant cells. Several branched Ty1 RNAs are shown to accumulate in dbr1∆ cells during retrotransposition. These data are consistent with creation of Ty1 RNA branches prior to Ty1 reverse transcription and their removal by Dbr1p to allow efficient extension of early cDNA products. The data support the possibility that RNA branch formation and cleavage play broadly shared, but unknown roles in retroviral and LTR retrotransposon reverse transcription.

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Acknowledgements

I thank Beate Schwer for the gift of plasmid pSE358-Dbr1 and Manshun Fu for help with Southern blotting experiments.

Funding

This work was supported by the University of Missouri Research Board and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Biological Sciences.

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Correspondence to Thomas M. Menees.

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Menees, T.M. Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNA lariat debranching enzyme, Dbr1p, is required for completion of reverse transcription by the retrovirus-like element Ty1 and cleaves branched Ty1 RNAs. Mol Genet Genomics 296, 409–422 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00438-020-01753-y

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Keywords

  • Dbr1
  • Ty1
  • Reverse transcription