by Abdalla Akef, Kathy McGraw, Steven D. Cappell, Daniel R. Larson
U2 Small Nuclear RNA Auxiliary Factor 1 (U2AF1) forms a heterodimeric complex with U2AF2 that is primarily responsible for 3ʹ splice site selection. U2AF1 mutations have been identified in most cancers but are prevalent in Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), and the most common mutation is a missense substitution of serine-34 to phenylalanine (S34F). The U2AF heterodimer also has a noncanonical function as a translational regulator. Here, we report that the U2AF1-S34F mutation results in specific misregulation of the translation initiation and ribosome biogenesis machinery. The net result is an increase in mRNA translation at the single-cell level. Among the translationally up-regulated targets of U2AF1-S34F is Nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1), which is a major driver of myeloid malignancy. Depletion of NPM1 impairs the viability of the U2AF1-S34F mutant cells and causes ribosomal RNA (rRNA) processing defects, thus indicating an unanticipated synthetic interaction between U2AF1, NPM1, and ribosome biogenesis. Our results establish a unique molecular phenotype for the U2AF1 mutation that recapitulates translational misregulation in myeloid disease.