Open Access Open Badges Research article

The ribonuclease Dis3 is an essential regulator of the developmental transcriptome

Dezhi Hou, Miriam Ruiz and Erik D Andrulis*

Author Affiliations

Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Wood Building, W212, Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2012, 13:359  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-359

Published: 1 August 2012



Dis3 is ribonuclease that acts directly in the processing, turnover, and surveillance of a large number of distinct RNA species. Evolutionarily conserved from eubacteria to eukaryotes and a crucial component of the RNA processing exosome, Dis3 has been shown to be essential in yeast and fly S2 cells. However, it is not known whether Dis3 has essential functions in a metazoan. This study inquires whether Dis3 is required for Drosophila development and viability and how Dis3 regulates the transcriptome in the developing fly.


Using transgenic flies, we show that Dis3 knock down (Dis3KD) retards growth, induces melanotic tumor formation, and ultimately results in 2nd instar larval lethality. In order to determine whether Dis3KD fly phenotypes were a consequence of disrupting developmentally regulated RNA turnover, we performed RNA deep sequencing analysis on total RNA isolated from developmentally staged animals. Bioinformatic analysis of transcripts from Dis3KD flies reveals substantial transcriptomic changes, most notably down-regulation in early expressed RNAs. Finally, gene ontology analysis of this early stage shows that Dis3 regulates transcripts related to extracellular structure and remodelling, neurogenesis, and nucleotide metabolism.


We conclude that Dis3 is essential for early Drosophila melanogaster development and has specific and important stage-specific roles in regulating RNA metabolism. In showing for the first time that Dis3 is required for the development of a multicellular organism, our work provides mechanistic insight into how Dis3—either independent of or associated with the RNA processing exosome—participates in cell type-specific RNA turnover in metazoan development.

Dis3; Ribonuclease; RNase; Drosophila melanogaster; RNA metabolism; RNA turnover