Bowen-Conradi syndrome (BCS) is a lethal autosomal recessive disorder caused by a D86G substitution in the protein, Essential for Mitotic Growth 1 (EMG1). EMG1 is essential for 18S rRNA maturation and 40S ribosome biogenesis in yeast, but no studies of its role in ribosome biogenesis have been done in mammals. To assess the effect of the EMG1 mutation on cell growth and ribosomal biogenesis in humans, we employed BCS patient cells. The D86G substitution did not interfere with EMG1 nucleolar localization. In BCS patient lymphoblasts, cells accumulated in G2/M, resulting in reduced proliferation rates; however, patient fibroblasts showed normal proliferation. The rate of 18S rRNA processing was consistently delayed in patient cells, although this did not lead to a difference in the levels of 40S ribosomes, or a change in protein synthesis rates. These results demonstrate that as in yeast, EMG1 in mammals has a role in ribosome biogenesis. The obvious phenotype in lymphoblasts compared to fibroblasts suggests a greater need for EMG1 in rapidly dividing cells. Tissue-specific effects have been seen in other ribosomal biogenesis disorders, and it seems likely that the impact of EMG1 deficiency would be larger in the rapidly proliferating cells of the developing embryo. © 2014.
Armistead, J., Hemming, R., Patel, N., & Triggs-Raine, B. (2014). Mutation of EMG1 causing Bowen-Conradi syndrome results in reduced cell proliferation rates concomitant with G2/M arrest and 18S rRNA processing delay. BBA Clinical, 1, 33–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbacli.2014.05.002