Regulation of nuclear tRNA export in response to nutrient stress is not evolutionarily conserved and requires the TORC1 and PKA signaling pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Pierce, Jacqueline
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University of Guelph

Saccharomyces cerevisiae are unicellular organisms that are highly adaptable to acute changes in nutrient availability. The two main signaling pathways that allow S. cerevisiae to sense and respond to changes in glucose availability in the environment are the conserved cAMP/PKA and AMPK/Snf1 kinase-dependent pathways. The conserved TORC1 pathway is primarily responsible for allowing cells to respond to the availability of nitrogen. Studies have shown that S. cerevisiae, but not mammalian and plant cells, regulate nuclear tRNA trafficking in response to nutrient stress. Here, we show that the yeast species of the Saccharomyces genus, but not Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Kluyveromyces lactis specifically regulate nuclear tRNA export in response to nutrient stress, providing further evidence that regulation of nuclear tRNA export in response to nutrient availability is not evolutionarily conserved. We also established that amino acid and nitrogen starvation affects nuclear export of a subset of tRNAs in S. cerevisiae. Inhibition of TORC1 signaling by rapamycin treatment, which simulates nitrogen starvation, also affects nuclear export of the same subset of tRNAs, suggesting that the TORC1 signaling pathway plays a role in regulating nuclear export of the tRNAs in response to nitrogen level. Regulation of nuclear export of these tRNAs by nitrogen deprivation is most likely due to an effect on the function of the nuclear tRNA export receptors, as overexpression of the tRNA export receptor, Los1p, restores export of the tRNAs during nitrogen starvation. These findings suggest that the TORC1 signaling pathway may, in part, regulate nuclear export of the tRNAs by affecting the function of the tRNA export receptors. In contrast to amino acid and nitrogen starvation, glucose depletion affects nuclear export of all tRNA species in S. cerevisiae. Evidence obtained suggests that nuclear retention of tRNA in cells deprived of glucose is due to a block in nuclear re-import of the nuclear tRNA export receptors. Retention of the receptors in the cytoplasm is not caused by activation of Snf1p, but by the inactivation of PKA during glucose deprivation. Furthermore, regulation of nuclear re-import of the receptors is not due to phosphorylation of the tRNA export receptors by PKA. However, PKA phosphorylates known components of the tRNA export machinery. A model that is consistent with the data is that PKA and an unknown mechanism regulate the activity of these components or an unidentified protein(s) to control nuclear re-import of the receptors in response to glucose availability.

PKA, Snf1p, TORC1, Yeast, Nuclear tRNA export receptors, Nuclear-cytoplasmic tRNA trafficking, Nutrient stress, Regulation of nuclear tRNA export