MYCN recruits the nuclear exosome complex to RNA polymerase II to prevent transcription replication conflicts
The MYCN oncoprotein drives the development of numerous neuroendocrine and pediatric tumors. Here we show that MYCN interacts with the nuclear RNA exosome, a 3'-5' exoribonuclease complex, and recruits the exosome to its target genes. In the absence of the exosome, MYCN-directed elongation by RNA Polymerase II (RNAPII) is slow and non-productive on a large group of cell cycle-regulated genes. During the S phase of MYCN-driven tumor cells, the exosome is required to prevent the accumulation of stalled replication forks and of double-strand breaks close to the transcription start sites. Upon depletion of the exosome, activation of ATM causes recruitment of BRCA1, which stabilizes nuclear mRNA decapping complexes, leading to MYCN-dependent transcription termination. Disruption of mRNA decapping in turn activates ATR, indicating transcription-replication conflicts. We propose that exosome recruitment by MYCN maintains productive transcription elongation during S-phase and prevents transcription-replication conflicts to maintain the rapid proliferation of neuroendocrine tumor cells.