Ceg1 depletion reveals mechanisms governing degradation of non-capped RNAs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Onofrio Zanin, Matthew Eastham, Kinga Winczura, Mark Ashe, Rocio t. Martinez-Nunez, Daniel Hebenstreit, Pawel Grzechnik

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Most functional eukaryotic mRNAs contain a 5′ 7-methylguanosine (m 7G) cap. Although capping is essential for many biological processes including mRNA processing, export and translation, the fate of uncapped transcripts has not been studied extensively. Here, we employed fast nuclear depletion of the capping enzymes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to uncover the turnover of the transcripts that failed to be capped. We show that although the degradation of cap-deficient mRNA is dominant, the levels of hundreds of non-capped mRNAs increase upon depletion of the capping enzymes. Overall, the abundance of non-capped mRNAs is inversely correlated to the expression levels, altogether resembling the effects observed in cells lacking the cytoplasmic 5′−3′ exonuclease Xrn1 and indicating differential degradation fates of non-capped mRNAs. The inactivation of the nuclear 5′−3′ exonuclease Rat1 does not rescue the non-capped mRNA levels indicating that Rat1 is not involved in their degradation and consequently, the lack of the capping does not affect the distribution of RNA Polymerase II on the chromatin. Our data indicate that the cap presence is essential to initiate the Xrn1-dependent degradation of mRNAs underpinning the role of 5′ cap in the Xrn1-dependent buffering of the cellular mRNA levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1112
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2023


  • Exonucleases/metabolism
  • RNA Caps/genetics
  • RNA, Messenger/genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins/genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae/genetics


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