RNA processing errors triggered by cadmium and integrator complex disruption are signals for environmental stress

Cheng-Wei Wu, Keon Wimberly, Adele Pietras, William Dodd, M. Blake Atlas, Keith P. Choe
2019 BMC Biology  
Adaptive responses to stress are essential for cell and organismal survival. In metazoans, little is known about the impact of environmental stress on RNA homeostasis. Results: By studying the regulation of a cadmium-induced gene named numr-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans, we discovered that disruption of RNA processing acts as a signal for environmental stress. We find that NUMR-1 contains motifs common to RNA splicing factors and influences RNA splicing in vivo. A genome-wide screen reveals that
more » ... umr-1 is strongly and specifically induced by silencing of genes that function in basal RNA metabolism including subunits of the metazoan integrator complex. Human integrator processes snRNAs for functioning with splicing factors, and we find that silencing of C. elegans integrator subunits disrupts snRNA processing, causes aberrant pre-mRNA splicing, and induces the heat shock response. Cadmium, which also strongly induces numr-1, has similar effects on RNA and the heat shock response. Lastly, we find that heat shock factor-1 is required for full numr-1 induction by cadmium. Conclusion: Our results are consistent with a model in which disruption of integrator processing of RNA acts as a molecular damage signal initiating an adaptive stress response mediated by heat shock factor-1. When numr-1 is induced via this pathway in C. elegans, its function in RNA metabolism may allow it to mitigate further damage and thereby promote tolerance to cadmium.
doi:10.1186/s12915-019-0675-z fatcat:gxt6tem255e5ri7ilu7s7lwm2u