The RPM2 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae codes for a protein subunit of mitochondrial RNase P and has another unknown essential function. We previously demonstrated that Rpm2p localizes to the nucleus and acts as a transcriptional activator. Rpm2p influences the level of mRNAs that encode components of the mitochondrial import apparatus and essential mitochondrial chaperones. Evidence is presented here that Rpm2p interacts with Dcp2p, a subunit of mRNA decapping enzyme in the two-hybrid assay, and is enriched in cytoplasmic P bodies, the sites of mRNA degradation and storage in yeast and mammalian cells. When overexpressed, GFP-Rpm2p does not impact the number and size of P bodies; however, it prevents their disappearance when translation elongation is inhibited by cycloheximide. Proteasome mutants, ump1-2 and pre4-2, that bypass essential Rpm2p function, also stabilize P bodies. The stabilization of P bodies by Rpm2p may occur through reduced protein degradation since GFP-Rpm2p expressing cells have lower levels of ubiquitin. Genetic analysis revealed that overexpression of Dhh1p (a DEAD box helicase localized to P bodies) suppresses temperature-sensitive growth of the rpm2-100 mutant. Overexpression of Pab1p (a poly (A)-binding protein) also suppresses rpm2-100, suggesting that Rpm2p functions in at least two aspects of mRNA metabolism. The results presented here, and the transcriptional activation function demonstrated earlier, implicate Rpm2p as a coordinator of transcription and mRNA storage/decay in P bodies.
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