The SPF27 Homologue Num1 Connects Splicing and Kinesin 1-Dependent Cytoplasmic Trafficking in Ustilago maydis. [2014 PLoS Genet 10, e1004046]
Kellner, N., Heimel, K., Obhof, T., Finkernagel, F., and Kämper, J.
The conserved NineTeen protein complex (NTC) is an integral subunit of the spliceosome and required for intron removal during pre-mRNA splicing. The complex associates with the spliceosome and participates in the regulation of conformational changes of core spliceosomal components, stabilizing RNA-RNA- as well as RNA-protein interactions. In addition, the NTC is involved in cell cycle checkpoint control, response to DNA damage, as well as formation and export of mRNP-particles. We have identified the Num1 protein as the homologue of SPF27, one of NTC core components, in the basidiomycetous fungus Ustilago maydis. Num1 is required for polarized growth of the fungal hyphae, and, in line with the described NTC functions, the num1 mutation affects the cell cycle and cell division. The num1 deletion influences splicing in U. maydis on a global scale, as RNA-Seq analysis revealed increased intron retention rates. Surprisingly, we identified in a screen for Num1 interacting proteins not only NTC core components as Prp19 and Cef1, but several proteins with putative functions during vesicle-mediated transport processes. Among others, Num1 interacts with the motor protein Kin1 in the cytoplasm. Similar phenotypes with respect to filamentous and polar growth, vacuolar morphology, as well as the motility of early endosomes corroborate the genetic interaction between Num1 and Kin1. Our data implicate a previously unidentified connection between a component of the splicing machinery and cytoplasmic transport processes. As the num1 deletion also affects cytoplasmic mRNA transport, the protein may constitute a novel functional interconnection between the two disparate processes of splicing and trafficking.