A Uv-Induced Mutation in Neurospora That Affects Translational Regulation in Response to Arginine
The Neurospora crassa arg-2 gene encodes the small subunit of arginine-specific carbamoyl phosphate synthetase. The levels of arg-2 mRNA and mRNA translation are negatively regulated by arginine. An upstream open reading frame (uORF) in the transcript's 5' region has been implicated in arginine-specific control. An arg-2-hph fusion gene encoding hygromycin phosphotransferase conferred arginine-regulated resistance to hygromycin when introduced into N. crassa. We used an arg-2-hph strain to select for UV-induced mutants that grew in the presence of hygromycin and arginine, and we isolated 46 mutants that had either of two phenotypes. One phenotype indicated altered expression of both arg-2-hph and arg-2 genes; the other, altered expression of arg-2-hph but not arg-2. One of the latter mutations, which was genetically closely linked to arg-2-hph, was recovered from the 5' region of the arg-2-hph gene using PCR. Sequence analyses and transformation experiments revealed a mutation at uORF codon 12 (Asp to Asn) that abrogated negative regulation. Examination of the distribution of ribosomes on arg-2-hph transcripts showed that loss of regulation had a translational component, indicating the uORF sequence was important for Arg-specific translational control. Comparisons with other uORFs suggest common elements in translational control mechanisms.