The yeast THO complex and mRNA export factors link RNA metabolism with transcription and genome instability.
The THO complex is a multimeric factor containing four polypeptides, Tho2, Hpr1, Mft1 and Thp2. Mutations in any of the genes encoding THO confer impairment of transcription and a transcription-dependent hyper-recombination phenotype, suggesting that THO has a functional role in gene expression. Using an in vivo assay developed to study expression of long and G+C-rich DNA sequences, we have isolated SUB2, a gene involved in mRNA splicing and export, as a multicopy suppressor of the gene expression defect of hpr1 Delta. Further investigation of a putative functional relationship between mRNA metabolism and THO revealed that mRNA export mutants sub2, yra1, mex67 and mtr2 have similar defective transcription and hyper-recombination phenotypes as THO mutants. In addition, THO becomes essential in cells with a defective Mex67 mRNA export er. Finally, we have shown that THO has the ability to associate with RNA and DNA in vitro. These results indicate a functional link between the processes of elongation and metabolism of nascent mRNA mediated by THO and mRNA export proteins, which have important consequences for the maintenance of genome stability.