Pescadillo plays an essential role in plant cell growth and survival by modulating ribosome biogenesis



Pescadillo (PES) is involved in diverse cellular processes such as embryonic development, ribosomal biogenesis, cell proliferation, and gene transcription in yeast and metazoans. In this study, we characterized cellular functions of plant PES in Nicotiana benthamiana, Arabidopsis, and tobacco BY-2 cells. A GFP fusion protein of PES is predominantly localized in the nucleolus, where its localization requires the N-terminal domain of PES. Silencing of plant PES led to growth arrest and acute cell death. PES interacts with plant homologs of BOP1 and WDR12 in the nucleolus, which are also nucleolar proteins involved in ribosome biogenesis of yeast and mammals. PES, BOP1, and WDR12 cofractionated with ribosome subunits. Depletion of any of these proteins led to defective biogenesis of the 60S ribosome large subunits and disruption of nucleolar morphology. PES-deficient plant cells also exhibited delayed maturation of 25S ribosomal RNA and suppressed global translation. During mitosis in tobacco BY-2 cells, PES is associated with the mitotic microtubules, including spindles and phragmoplasts, and PES deficiency disrupted spindle organization and chromosome arrangement. Collectively, these results suggest that plant PES has an essential role in cell growth and survival through its regulation of ribosome biogenesis and mitotic progression.