The genetic depletion of yeast Rrp5p results in a synthesis defect of both 18S and 5.8S ribosomal RNAs (Venema J, Tollervey D. 1996. EMBO J 15:5701–5714). We have isolated the RRP5 gene in a genetic approach aimed to select for yeast factors interfering with protein import into mitochondria. We describe here a striking feature of Rrp5p amino acid sequence, namely the presence of twelve putative S1 RNA-binding motifs and seven tetratricopeptide repeats (TPR) motifs. We have constructed two conditional temperature-sensitive alleles of RRP5 gene and analyzed them for associated rRNA-processing defects. First, a functional “bipartite gene” was generated revealing that the S1 and TPR parts of the protein can act independently of each other. We also generated a two amino acid deletion in TPR unit 1 (rrp5Δ6 allele). The two mutant forms of Rrp5p were shown to cause a defect in 18S rRNA synthesis with no detectable effects on 5.8S rRNA production. However, the rRNA processing pathway was differently affected in each case. Interestingly, the ROK1 gene which, like RRP5, was previously isolated in a screen for synthetic lethal mutations with snR10 deletion, was here identified as a high copy suppressor of the rrp5Δ6 temperature-sensitive allele. ROK1 also acts as a low copy suppressor but cannot bypass the cellular requirement for RRP5. Furthermore, we show that suppression by the Rok1p putative RNA helicase rescues the 18S rRNA synthesis defect caused by the rrp5Δ6 mutation.
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