Given the high metabolic cost required to generate ribosomes, it has been assumed that proteins involved in ribosome synthesis might establish functional cross talk with other intracellular processes to efficiently couple ribosome production and cell growth. However, such interconnections have remained elusive due to the difficulty in separating the intra- and extraribosomal roles of ribosome biogenesis factors. Using a yeast functional screen, I have discovered that Rrp12, a conserved protein involved in ribosome maturation and export, plays roles in the cell cycle and the DNA damage response. These results indicate that Rrp12 participates in a karyopherin Kap121-dependent import route that is crucial for nuclear sequestration of ribonucleotide reductase subunits and, thereby, ensures the proper kinetics of deoxyribonucleotide production during the cell cycle. Within this route, Rrp12 acts as a cofactor important for the full functionality of Kap121. This activity is mechanistically different from the known roles of Rrp12 in ribosome biogenesis. I propose that the functional duality of Rrp12 may couple the control of ribosome production to the regulation of other cellular processes during cell cycle progression.
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