Distinct pathways for snoRNA and mRNA termination.
Kim M., Vasiljeva L., Rando OJ., Zhelkovsky A., Moore C., Buratowski S.
Transcription termination at mRNA genes is linked to polyadenylation. Cleavage at the poly(A) site generates an entry point for the Rat1/Xrn2 exonuclease, which degrades the downstream transcript to promote termination. Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are also transcribed by RNA polymerase II but are not polyadenylated. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments show that polyadenylation factors and Rat1 localize to snoRNA genes, but mutations that disrupt poly(A) site cleavage or Rat1 activity do not lead to termination defects at these genes. Conversely, mutations of Nrd1, Sen1, and Ssu72 affect termination at snoRNAs but not at several mRNA genes. The exosome complex was required for 3' trimming, but not termination, of snoRNAs. Both the mRNA and snoRNA pathways require Pcf11 but show differential effects of individual mutant alleles. These results suggest that in yeast the transcribing RNA polymerase II can choose between two distinct termination mechanisms but keeps both options available during elongation.