Sm-like (Lsm) proteins have been identified in all organisms and are related to RNA metabolism. Here, we report that Arabidopsis nuclear AtLSM8 protein, as well as AtLSM5, which localizes to both the cytoplasm and nucleus, function in pre-mRNA splicing, while AtLSM5 and the exclusively cytoplasmic AtLSM1 contribute to 5'-3' mRNA decay. In lsm8 and sad1/lsm5 mutants, U6 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) was reduced and unspliced mRNA precursors accumulated, whereas mRNA stability was mainly affected in plants lacking AtLSM1 and AtLSM5. Some of the mRNAs affected in lsm1a lsm1b and sad1/lsm5 plants were also substrates of the cytoplasmic 5'-3' exonuclease AtXRN4 and of the decapping enzyme AtDCP2. Surprisingly, a subset of substrates was also stabilized in the mutant lacking AtLSM8, which supports the notion that plant mRNAs are actively degraded in the nucleus. Localization of LSM components, purification of LSM-interacting proteins as well as functional analyses strongly suggest that at least two LSM complexes with conserved activities in RNA metabolism, AtLSM1-7 and AtLSM2-8, exist also in plants.
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