The release of nascent RNA from transcribing RNA polymerase complexes is required for all further functions carried out by RNA molecules. The elements and processing machinery involved in 3′ end formation therefore represent key determinants in the biogenesis and accumulation of cellular RNA. While these factors have been well-characterized for messenger RNA, recent work has elucidated analogous pathways for the 3′ end formation of other important cellular RNA. Here, we discuss four specific cases of non-mRNA 3′ end formation-metazoan small nuclear RNA, Saccharomyces cerevisiae small nuclear RNA, Schizosaccharomyces pombe telomerase RNA, and the mammalian MALAT1 large noncoding RNA-as models of alternative mechanisms to generate RNA 3′ ends. Comparison of these disparate processing pathways reveals an emerging theme of evolutionary ingenuity. In some instances, evidence for the creation of a dedicated processing complex exists; while in others, components are utilized from the existing RNA processing machinery and modified to custom fit the unique needs of the RNA substrate. Regardless of the details of how non-mRNA 3′ ends are formed, the lengths to which biological systems will go to release nascent transcripts from their DNA templates are fundamental for cell survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology