In S. cerevisiae cells debilitated in mRNA nuclear export, transcripts are retained in nuclear foci (" dots" ). The ultimate fate of dot-mRNA has remained elusive. Here, we use single molecule counting microscopy and35S-methionine pulse-labeling assays to quantify cytoplasmic HSP104 RNA levels and estimate HSP104 RNA translation status. HSP104 transcripts, retained in dots as a consequence of the mex67-5 mutation, are slowly released over time for cytoplasmic translation. Thus, dot-mRNA retains function. However, forcing its nuclear export, by overexpressing the Sub2p mRNA export factor, does not elevate Hsp104p protein levels but is instead paralleled by growth deficiency. Nuclear export and growth phenotypes are both counteracted by coexpressing the nuclear RNA quality control factor Rrp6p. Thus, prematurely released dot-mRNA is translationally inactive and possibly toxic. Accordingly, nuclear retention of mRNA may serve a precautionary role during stressful situations such as, e.g., decreased mRNA maturation competence. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
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