TIA1 and TIAL1 encode a family of U-rich element mRNA-binding proteins ubiquitously expressed and conserved in metazoans. Using PAR-CLIP, we determined that both proteins bind target sites with identical specificity in 3' UTRs and introns proximal to 5' as well as 3' splice sites. Double knockout (DKO) of TIA1 and TIAL1 increased target mRNA abundance proportional to the number of binding sites and also caused accumulation of aberrantly spliced mRNAs, most of which are subject to nonsense-mediated decay. Loss of PRKRA by mis-splicing triggered the activation of the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-activated protein kinase EIF2AK2/PKR and stress granule formation. Ectopic expression of PRKRA cDNA or knockout of EIF2AK2 in DKO cells rescued this phenotype. Perturbation of maturation and/or stability of additional targets further compromised cell cycle progression. Our study reveals the essential contributions of the TIA1 protein family to the fidelity of mRNA maturation, translation, and RNA-stress-sensing pathways in human cells.
Newly synthesized proteins engage molecular chaperones that assist folding. Their progress is monitored by quality control systems that target folding errors for degradation. Paradoxically, chaperones that promote folding also direct unfolded polypeptides for degradation. Hence, a mechanism was previously hypothesized that prevents the degradation of actively folding polypeptides. In this study, we show that a conserved endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein complex, consisting of Slp1 and Emp65 proteins, performs this function in the ER lumen. The complex binds unfolded proteins and protects them from degradation during folding. In its absence, approximately 20%-30% of newly synthesized proteins that could otherwise fold are degraded. Although the Slp1-Emp65 complex hosts a broad range of clients, it is specific for soluble proteins. Taken together, these studies demonstrate the vulnerability of newly translated, actively folding polypeptides and the discovery of a new proteostasis functional class we term "guardian" that protects them from degradation.
SUMO1-conjugation of proteins at neuronal synapses is considered to be a major post-translational regulatory process in nerve cell and synapse function, but the published evidence for SUMO1-conjugation at synapses is contradictory. We employed multiple genetic mouse models for stringently controlled biochemical and immunostaining analyses of synaptic SUMO1-conjugation. By using a knock-in reporter mouse line expressing tagged SUMO1, we could not detect SUMO1-conjugation of seven previously proposed synaptic SUMO1-targets in the brain. Further, immunostaining of cultured neurons from wild-type and SUMO1 knock-out mice showed that anti-SUMO1 immunolabelling at synapses is non-specific. Our findings indicate that SUMO1-conjugation of synaptic proteins does not occur or is extremely rare and hence not detectable using current methodology. Based on our data, we discuss a set of experimental strategies and minimal consensus criteria for the validation of SUMOylation that can be applied to any SUMOylation substrate and SUMO isoform.