An essential RNA-binding lysine residue in the Nab3 RRM domain undergoes mono and trimethylation

Lee, K., et al. An essential RNA-binding lysine residue in the Nab3 RRM domain undergoes mono and trimethylation, bioRxiv. 10.1101/592923

The Nrd1-Nab3-Sen1 (NNS) complex integrates molecular inputs to direct termination of noncoding transcription in budding yeast. NNS is positively regulated by methylation of histone H3 lysine-4 as well as through Nrd1 binding to the initiating form of RNA PolII. These cues collaborate with Nrd1 and Nab3 binding to target RNA sequences in nascent transcripts through their RRM RNA recognition motifs. In this study, we identify nine lysine residues distributed amongst Nrd1, Nab3, and Sen1 that are mono-, di-, or trimethylated, suggesting novel molecular inputs for NNS regulation. One of these methylated residues, Nab3 lysine-363 (K363), resides within its RRM, and is known to physically contact target RNA. Although mutation of Nab3-K363 to arginine (Nab3-K363R) causes a severe growth defect, it nevertheless produces a stable protein that is incorporated into the NNS complex, suggesting that RNA binding through Nab3-K363 is crucial for NNS function. Consistent with this hypothesis, K363R mutation decreases RNA binding of the Nab3 RRM in vitro and causes transcription termination defects in vivo. These findings reveal crucial roles for Nab3-K363 and suggest that methylation of this residue may modulate NNS activity through its impact on Nab3 RNA binding.

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