U bodies respond to nutrient stress inDrosophila

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Abstract

The neurodegenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by mutation of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. Cytoplasmic SMN protein-containing granules, known as U snRNP bodies (U bodies), are thought to be responsible for the assembly and storage of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) which are essential for pre-mRNA splicing. U bodies exhibit close association with cytoplasmic processing bodies (P bodies), which are involved in mRNA decay and translational repression. The close association of the U body and P body in Drosophila resemble that of the stress granule and P body in yeast and mammalian cells. However, it is unknown whether the U body is responsive to any stress. Using Drosophila oogenesis as a model, here we show that U bodies increase in size following nutritional deprivation. Despite nutritional stress, U bodies maintain their close association with P bodies. Our results show that U bodies are responsive to nutrition changes, presumably through the U body–P body pathway.

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