Background: The transition from mitotic cell division to meiotic development in S. cerevisiae requires induction of a transient transcription program that is initiated by Ime1-dependent destruction of the repressor Ume6. Although IME1 mRNA is observed in vegetative cultures, Ime1 protein is not suggesting the presence of a regulatory system restricting translation to meiotic cells. Results: This study demonstrates that IME1 mRNA translation requires Rpl22A and Rpl22B, eukaryotic-specific ribosomal protein paralogs of the 60S large subunit. In the absence of Rpl22 function, IME1 mRNA synthesis is normal in cultures induced to enter meiosis. However, Ime1 protein production is reduced and the Ume6 repressor is not destroyed in rpl22 mutant cells preventing early meiotic gene induction resulting in a pre-meiosis I arrest. This role for Rpl22 is not a general consequence of mutating non-essential large ribosomal proteins as strains lacking Rpl29 or Rpl39 execute meiosis with nearly wild-type efficiencies. Several results indicate that Rpl22 functions by enhancing IME1 mRNA translation. First, the Ime1 protein synthesized in rpl22 mutant cells demonstrates the same turnover rate as in wild-type cultures. In addition, IME1 transcript is found in polysome fractions isolated from rpl22 mutant cells indicating that mRNA nuclear export and ribosome association occurs. Finally, deleting the unusually long 5'UTR restores Ime1 levels and early meiotic gene transcription in rpl22 mutants suggesting that Rpl22 enhances translation through this element. Polysome profiles revealed that under conditions of high translational output, Rpl22 maintains high free 60S subunit levels thus preventing halfmer formation, a translation species indicative of mRNAs bound by an unpaired 40S subunit. In addition to meiosis, Rpl22 is also required for invasive and pseudohyphal growth. Conclusions: These findings indicate that Rpl22A and Rpl22B are required to selectively translate IME1 mRNA that is required for meiotic induction and subsequent gametogenesis. In addition, our results imply a more general role for Rpl22 in cell fate switches responding to environmental nitrogen signals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology