By: Simei Yu

The title of the Thesis: "ATPase dependent and independent roles of Brahma in transcription and pre-mRNA processing”


SWI/SNF is a chromatin-remodeling complex and Brahma (BRM) is the ATPase subunit of SWI/SNF. BRM regulates transcription by remodeling the nucleosomes at promoter regions. BRM is also associated with RNA and affects pre-mRNA processing together with other SWI/SNF subunits. In this thesis, I will discuss the roles of BRM in both transcription and pre-mRNA processing. In Paper I, we showed that BRM, as well as other SWI/SNF subunits SNR1 and MOR, affects the alternative processing of a subset of pre-mRNAs, as shown by microarray analysis. This observation was validated by RNAi experiments both in Drosophila S2 cells and in vivo. In Paper II, we characterized the trans-splicing of transcripts derived from the mod(mdg4) gene. RNA interference (RNAi) and overexpression experiments revealed that BRM regulates the trans-splicing of mod(mdg4)-RX in an ATPase independent manner. In Paper III, we analyzed the expression of two BRM-target genes identified in Paper I, CG44250 and CG44251. RNAi and overexpression experiments showed that the expression levels of these two genes were affected by BRM in a manner that is independent of its ATPase activity. Transcriptome analysis further proved that BRM affects gene expression both in ATPase dependent and independent manners.  In Paper IV, we showed that BRM is present at the 3’-end of two analyzed genes, CG5174 and CG2051. BRM facilitates the recruitment of the cleavage and polyadenylation machinery to the cleavage sites through protein-protein interactions that do not require the ATPase activity of BRM. Morevoer, BRM promotes the cleavage of the CG5174 and CG2051 pre-mRNAs. To sum up, SWI/SNF plays important roles not only in transcription but also in pre-mRNA processing. To regulate transcription, BRM can either act as an ATPase-dependent chromatin remodeler or in a manner that does not involve ATPase activity. Additionally, BRM interacts with RNA-binding proteins to regulate the processing of a subset of pre-mRNAs, and this function of BRM is independent of its chromatin remodeling activity.

Keywords: chromatin remodeling, transcription, alternative splicing, 3'-end processing.


Opponent: Professor Christian Muchardt, Department of Developmental & Stem Cell Biology, Institut Pasteur, Paris, Frankrike