Supplementary Legends from mmi1 and rep2 mRNAs are novel RNA targets of the Mei2 RNA binding protein during early meiosis in Schizosaccharomyces pombe

The RNA-binding protein Mei2 is crucial for meiosis in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. In mei2 mutants, pre-meiotic S-phase is blocked, along with meiosis. Mei2 binds a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) called meiRNA, which is a ‘sponge RNA’ for the meiotic inhibitor protein Mmi1. The interaction between Mei2, meiRNA and Mmi1 protein is essential for meiosis. But mei2 mutants have stronger and different phenotypes than meiRNA mutants, since mei2Δ arrests before pre-meiotic S, while the meiRNA mutant arrests after pre-meiotic S but before meiosis. This suggests Mei2 may bind additional RNAs. To identify novel RNA targets of Mei2, which might explain how Mei2 regulates pre-meiotic S, we used RNA Immunoprecipitation and Cross-linking Immunoprecipitation. In addition to meiRNA, we found the mRNAs for mmi1 (which encodes Mmi1) and for the S-phase transcription factor rep2. There were also three other RNAs of uncertain relevance. We suggest that at meiotic initiation, Mei2 may sequester rep2 mRNA to help allow pre-meiotic S, and then may bind both meiRNA and mmi1 mRNA to inactivate Mmi1 at two levels, the protein level (as previously known), and also the mRNA level, allowing meiosis. We call Mei2–meiRNA a ‘double sponge’ (i.e. binding both an mRNA, and its encoded protein).