The Treacher Collins syndrome (TCOF1) gene product is involved in pre-rRNA methylation

Bianca Gonzales, Dale Henning, Rolando B. So, Jill Dixon, Michael J. Dixon, Benigno C. Valdez

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    Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS) is characterized by defects in craniofacial development, which results from mutations in the TCOF1 gene. TCOF1 encodes the nucleolar phosphoprotein treacle, which interacts with upstream binding factor (UBF) and affects transcription of the ribosomal DNA gene. The present study shows participation of treacle in the 2′-O-methylation of pre-rRNA. Antisense-mediated down-regulation of treacle expression in Xenopus laevis oocytes reduced 2′-O-methylation of pre-rRNA. Analysis of RNA isolated from wild-type and Tcof1+/- heterozygous mice embryos from strains that exhibit a lethal phenotype showed significant reduction in 2′-O-methylation at nucleotide C463 of 18S rRNA. The level of pseudouridylation of U1642 of 18S rRNA from the same RNA samples was not affected suggesting specificity. There is no significant difference in rRNA methylation between wild-type and heterozygous embryos of DBA×BALB/c mice, which have no obvious craniofacial phenotype. The function of treacle in pre-rRNA methylation is most likely mediated by its direct physical interaction with NOP56, a component of the ribonucleoprotein methylation complex. Although treacle co-localizes with UBF throughout mitosis, it co-localizes with NOP56 and fibrillarin, a putative methyl transferase, only during telophase when rDNA gene transcription and pre-rRNA methylation are known to commence. These observations suggest that treacle might link RNA polymerase I-catalyzed transcription and post-transcriptional modification of pre-rRNA. We hypothesize that haploinsufficiency of treacle in TCS patients results in inhibition of production of properly modified mature rRNA in addition to inhibition of rDNA gene transcription, which consequently affects proliferation and proper differentiation of specific embryonic cells during development. © The Author 2005. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2035-2043
    Number of pages8
    JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
    Issue number14
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2005


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