A genetic screen for suppressors of hyper-repression of the fission yeast PHO regulon by Pol2 CTD mutation T4A implicates inositol 1-pyrophosphates as agonists of precocious lncRNA transcription termination
Nucleic Acids Research
Fission yeast phosphate homeostasis genes are repressed in phosphate-rich medium by transcription of upstream lncRNAs that interferes with activation of the flanking mRNA promoters. lncRNA control of PHO gene expression is influenced by the Thr4 phospho-site in the RNA polymerase II CTD and the 3′ processing/termination factors CPF and Rhn1, mutations of which result in hyper-repression of the PHO regulon. Here, we performed a forward genetic screen for mutations that de-repress Pho1 acid
... atase expression in CTD-T4A cells. Sequencing of 18 independent STF (Suppressor of Threonine Four) isolates revealed, in every case, a mutation in the C-terminal pyrophosphatase domain of Asp1, a bifunctional inositol pyrophosphate (IPP) kinase/pyrophosphatase that interconverts 5-IP7 and 1,5-IP8. Focused characterization of two STF strains identified 51 coding genes coordinately upregulated vis-à-vis the parental T4A strain, including all three PHO regulon genes (pho1, pho84, tgp1). Whereas these STF alleles—asp1-386(Stop) and asp1-493(Stop)—were lethal in a wild-type CTD background, they were viable in combination with mutations in CPF and Rhn1, in which context Pho1 was also de-repressed. Our findings implicate Asp1 pyrophosphatase in constraining 1,5-IP8 or 1-IP7 synthesis by Asp1 kinase, without which 1-IPPs can accumulate to toxic levels that elicit precocious termination by CPF/Rhn1.