Journal Article NML-mediated rRNA base methylation links ribosomal subunit formation to cell proliferation in a p53-dependent manner

Waku, Tsuyoshi  ,  Nakajima, Yuka  ,  Yokoyama, Wataru  ,  Nomura, Naoto  ,  Kako, Koichiro  ,  Kobayashi, Akira  ,  Shimizu, Toshiyuki  ,  Fukamizu, Akiyoshi

129 ( 12 )  , pp.2382 - 2393 , 2016-06 , The Company of Biologists Ltd
Ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) act as scaffolds and ribozymes in ribosomes, and these functions are modulated by post-transcriptional modifications. However, the biological role of base methylation, a well-conserved modification of rRNA, is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that a nucleolar factor, nucleomethylin (NML; also known as RRP8), is required for the N1-methyladenosine (m1A) modification in 28S rRNAs of human and mouse cells. NML also contributes to 60S ribosomal subunit formation. Intriguingly, NML depletion increases 60S ribosomal protein L11 (RPL11) levels in the ribosome-free fraction and protein levels of p53 through an RPL11–MDM2 complex, which activates the p53 pathway. Consequently, the growth of NML-depleted cells is suppressed in a p53-dependent manner. These observations reveal a new biological function of rRNA base methylation, which links ribosomal subunit formation to p53-dependent inhibition of cell proliferation in mammalian cells.

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