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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (13)
- Molecular Cell
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Biochemical Society Symposium
- Nucleic Acids Research
- Journal of Biology
- Biochemical Society Transactions
- BMC Biology
- Biochemical Society Transactions
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Archaea (Vancouver, B.C.)
- Nucleic Acids Research
Articles by Robert O.J. Weinzierl in JoVE
High-throughput Purification of Affinity-tagged Recombinant Proteins
Simone C. Wiesler, Robert O.J. Weinzierl
Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London
We describe a method for the affinity-tagged purification of recombinant proteins using liquid-handling robotics. This method is generally applicable to the small-scale purification of soluble His-tagged proteins in a high-throughput format.
Other articles by Robert O.J. Weinzierl on PubMed
Molecular Cell. Sep, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12408830
RNA polymerases (RNAPs) are core components of the cellular transcriptional machinery. Progress with functional studies of eukaryotic RNAPs has been delayed by the fact that it has not yet been possible to assemble active enzymes from individual subunits. Archaeal RNAPs are directly comparable to eukaryotic RNAPII in terms of primary sequence homology and quaternary structure. Here we report the successful in vitro assembly of a recombinant archaeal RNAP from purified subunits. The recombinant enzyme displays full activity in transcription assays and is capable, in the presence of two other basal factors, of promoter-specific transcription. The assembly of mutant enzymes yielded several unexpected insights into the structural and functional contributions of various subunits toward overall RNAP activity.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Dec, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15485836
The core components of the archaeal transcription apparatus closely resemble those of eukaryotic RNA polymerase II, while the DNA-binding transcriptional regulators are predominantly of bacterial type. Here we report the construction of an entirely recombinant system for positively regulated archaeal transcription. By omitting individual subunits, or sets of subunits, from the in vitro assembly of the 12-subunit RNA polymerase from the hyperthermophile Methanocaldococcus jannaschii, we describe a functional dissection of this RNA polymerase II-like enzyme, and its interactions with the general transcription factor TFE, as well as with the transcriptional activator Ptr2.
Molecular and Cellular Biology. Sep, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16135821
Archaeal RNA polymerases (RNAPs) are recruited to promoters through the joint action of three basal transcription factors: TATA-binding protein, TFB (archaeal homolog of TFIIB), and TFE (archaeal homolog of TFIIE). Our results demonstrate several new insights into the mechanisms of TFB and TFE during the transcription cycle. (i) The N-terminal Zn ribbon of TFB displays a surprising degree of redundancy for the recruitment of RNAP during transcription initiation in the archaeal system. (ii) The B-finger domain of TFB participates in transcription initiation events by stimulating abortive and productive transcription in a recruitment-independent function. TFB thus combines physical recruitment of the RNAP with an active role in influencing the catalytic properties of RNAP during transcription initiation. (iii) TFB mutations are complemented by TFE, thereby demonstrating that both factors act synergistically during transcription initiation. (iv) An additional function of TFE is to dynamically alter the nucleic acid-binding properties of RNAP by stabilizing the initiation complex and destabilizing elongation complexes.
Biochemical Society Symposium. 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16626286
The archaeal basal transcriptional machinery consists of TBP (TATA-binding protein), TFB (transcription factor B; a homologue of eukaryotic TFIIB) and an RNA polymerase that is structurally very similar to eukaryotic RNA polymerase II. This constellation of factors is sufficient to assemble specifically on a TATA box-containing promoter and to initiate transcription at a specific start site. We have used this system to study the functional interaction between basal transcription factors and RNA polymerase, with special emphasis on the post-recruitment function of TFB. A bioinformatics analysis of the B-finger of archaeal TFB and eukaryotic TFIIB reveals that this structure undergoes rapid and apparently systematic evolution in archaeal and eukaryotic evolutionary domains. We provide a detailed analysis of these changes and discuss their possible functional implications.
The RNA Polymerase Factory: a Robotic in Vitro Assembly Platform for High-throughput Production of Recombinant Protein Complexes
Nucleic Acids Research. Jan, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18025041
The in-depth structure/function analysis of large protein complexes, such as RNA polymerases (RNAPs), requires an experimental platform capable of assembling variants of such enzymes in large numbers in a reproducible manner under defined in vitro conditions. Here we describe a streamlined and integrated protocol for assembling recombinant archaeal RNAPs in a high-throughput 96-well format. All aspects of the procedure including construction of redesigned expression plasmids, development of automated protein extraction/in vitro assembly methods and activity assays were specifically adapted for implementation on robotic platforms. The optimized strategy allows the parallel assembly and activity assay of 96 recombinant RNAPs (including wild-type and mutant variants) with little or no human intervention within 24 h. We demonstrate the high-throughput potential of this system by evaluating the side-chain requirements of a single amino acid position of the RNAP Bridge Helix using saturation mutagenesis.
Journal of Biology. 2008 | Pubmed ID: 19055851
Cellular RNA polymerases are highly conserved enzymes that undergo complex conformational changes to coordinate the processing of nucleic acid substrates through the active site. Two domains in particular, the bridge helix and the trigger loop, play a key role in this mechanism by adopting different conformations at various stages of the nucleotide addition cycle. The functional relevance of these structural changes has been difficult to assess from the relatively small number of static crystal structures currently available.
Biochemical Society Transactions. Apr, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20298196
RNAPs (RNA polymerases) are complex molecular machines containing structural domains that co-ordinate the movement of nucleic acid and nucleotide substrates through the catalytic site. X-ray images of bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic RNAPs have provided a wealth of structural detail over the last decade, but many mechanistic features can only be derived indirectly from such structures. We have therefore implemented a robotic high-throughput structure-function experimental system based on the automatic generation and assaying of hundreds of site-directed mutants in the archaeal RNAP from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii. In the present paper, I focus on recent insights obtained from applying this experimental strategy to the bridge-helix domain. Our work demonstrates that the bridge-helix undergoes substantial conformational changes within a narrowly confined region (mjA' Ala(822)-Gln(823)-Ser(824)) during the nucleotide-addition cycle. Naturally occurring radical sequence variations in plant RNAP IV and V enzymes map to this region. In addition, many mutations within this domain cause a substantial increase in the RNAP catalytic activity ('superactivity'), suggesting that the RNAP active site is conformationally constrained.
The Nucleotide Addition Cycle of RNA Polymerase is Controlled by Two Molecular Hinges in the Bridge Helix Domain
BMC Biology. 2010 | Pubmed ID: 21034443
Cellular RNA polymerases (RNAPs) are complex molecular machines that combine catalysis with concerted conformational changes in the active center. Previous work showed that kinking of a hinge region near the C-terminus of the Bridge Helix (BH-H(C)) plays a critical role in controlling the catalytic rate.
Biochemical Society Transactions. Jan, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21265743
RNAPs (RNA polymerases) are complex molecular machines that contain a highly conserved catalytic site surrounded by conformationally flexible domains. High-throughput mutagenesis in the archaeal model system Methanocaldococcus jannaschii has demonstrated that the nanomechanical properties of one of these domains, the bridge-helix, exert a key regulatory role on the rate of the NAC (nucleotide-addition cycle). Mutations that increase the probability and/or half-life of kink formation in the BH-HC (bridge-helix C-terminal hinge) cause a substantial increase in specific activity ('superactivity'). Fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations show that kinking of the BH-HC appears to be driven by cation-π interactions and involve amino acid side chains that are exceptionally highly conserved in all prokaryotic and eukaryotic species.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Apr, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21357417
Transcription, the synthesis of RNA from a DNA template, is performed by multisubunit RNA polymerases (RNAPs) in all cellular organisms. The bridge helix (BH) is a distinct feature of all multisubunit RNAPs and makes direct interactions with several active site-associated mobile features implicated in the nucleotide addition cycle and RNA and DNA binding. Because the BH has been captured in both kinked and straight conformations in different crystals structures of RNAP, recently supported by molecular dynamics studies, it has been proposed that cycling between these conformations is an integral part of the nucleotide addition cycle. To further evaluate the role of the BH, we conducted systematic alanine scanning mutagenesis of the Escherichia coli RNAP BH to determine its contributions to activities required for transcription. Combining our data with an atomic model of E. coli RNAP, we suggest that alterations in the interactions between the BH and (i) the trigger loop, (ii) fork loop 2, and (iii) switch 2 can help explain the observed changes in RNAP functionality associated with some of the BH variants. Additionally, we show that extensive defects in E. coli RNAP functionality depend upon a single previously not studied lysine residue (Lys-781) that is strictly conserved in all bacteria. It appears that direct interactions made by the BH with other conserved features of RNAP are lost in some of the E. coli alanine substitution variants, which we infer results in conformational changes in RNAP that modify RNAP functionality.
Transcription. Nov-Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22223047
The TFIIB linker domain stimulates the catalytic activity of archaeal RNAP. By characterising a range of super-stimulating mutants we identified a novel rate-limiting step in transcription initiation. Our results help to interpret structural findings and pave the way towards higher-resolution structures of the RNAP-TFIIB linker interface.
The Bridge Helix of RNA Polymerase Acts As a Central Nanomechanical Switchboard for Coordinating Catalysis and Substrate Movement
Archaea (Vancouver, B.C.). 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22312317
The availability of in vitro assembly systems to produce recombinant archaeal RNA polymerases (RNAPs) offers one of the most powerful experimental tools for investigating the still relatively poorly understood molecular mechanisms underlying RNAP function. Over the last few years, we pioneered new robot-based high-throughput mutagenesis approaches to study structure/function relationships within various domains surrounding the catalytic center. The Bridge Helix domain, which appears in numerous X-ray structures as a 35-amino-acid-long alpha helix, coordinates the concerted movement of several other domains during catalysis through kinking of two discrete molecular hinges. Mutations affecting these kinking mechanisms have a direct effect on the specific catalytic activity of RNAP and can in some instances more than double it. Molecular dynamics simulations have established themselves as exceptionally useful for providing additional insights and detailed models to explain the underlying structural motions.
The Linker Domain of Basal Transcription Factor TFIIB Controls Distinct Recruitment and Transcription Stimulation Functions
Nucleic Acids Research. Jan, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 20851833
RNA polymerases (RNAPs) require basal transcription factors to assist them during transcription initiation. One of these factors, TFIIB, combines promoter recognition, recruitment of RNAP, promoter melting, start site selection and various post-initiation functions. The ability of 381 site-directed mutants in the TFIIB 'linker domain' to stimulate abortive transcription was systematically quantitated using promoter-independent dinucleotide extension assays. The results revealed two distinct clusters (mjTFIIB E78-R80 and mjTFIIB R90-G94, respectively) that were particularly sensitive to substitutions. In contrast, a short sequence (mjTFIIB A81-K89) between these two clusters tolerated radical single amino acid substitutions; short deletions in that region even caused a marked increase in the ability of TFIIB to stimulate abortive transcription ('superstimulation'). The superstimulating activity did, however, not correlate with increased recruitment of the TFIIB/RNAP complex because substitutions in a particular residue (mjTFIIB K87) increased recruitment by more than 5-fold without affecting the rate of abortive transcript stimulation. Our work demonstrates that highly localized changes within the TFIIB linker have profound, yet surprisingly disconnected, effects on RNAP recruitment, TFIIB/RNAP complex stability and the rate of transcription initiation. The identification of superstimulating TFIIB variants reveals the existence of a previously unknown rate-limiting step acting on the earliest stages of gene expression.